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Ears to Hear (Exploring The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7 with Youth or Small Group)

Updated: Feb 8

Episode 7 of The Chosen Season 3 centers around the chaos that the Apostles cause by sharing Jesus' teachings in the deeply-divided, multiethnic region known as the Decapolis. It also gives us new insight into Gaius' troubled family situation and reveals a formative moment from Matthew's past. If you want an in-depth recap and analysis of the events in Episode 7 and Episode 8, check here.


The Apostle John in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7,
The Apostle John in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7,

For purposes of personal enjoyment, I would suggest watching Episode 7 and Episode 8 of The Chosen Season 3 at the same time because the characters arcs and storylines for these two episodes are deeply intertwined and it feels like they were made to be watched together. However, if you're planning on studying and discussing Episode 7 and Episode 8 with your small group, Bible study, youth ministry, or family, you'll want to dedicate a separate night to each episode. There's simply far too much crammed into these two episodes to unpack in a single viewing experience. With that in mind, I'm putting together this Episode 7 Bible study and discussion guide after having already released a discussion guide for the Season Finale so that you can use it if you plan on leading a group through Season 3 in the future.


Before Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7: Review Questions

To get the most out of your viewing experience, I suggest reviewing some of the events of The Chosen Season 3 with your group:

  • During Episode 6, a man named Leander came to get help from Philip and Andrew. What was the situation he needed their help addressing?

  • In Episode 6, while looking for funds to make a purchase, what does Mary Magdalene find? What do you think the significance of this object was?

  • How has Matthew grown over the course of the series? Where do you think he is at going into Episodes 7? What are some ways he may still need to grow?

  • How has the relationship between Gaius and Simon Peter grown over the course of Season 3? What have we learned about Gaius?

  • What did Eden share with Simon at the end of Episode 6? How did he respond? How do you think that will affect him going forward?

Compared to the rest of Season 3, Episode 7 doesn't require quite as much review. Even so, keeping the events of the season fresh in the memory of your group members will ensure that your conversations are as fruitful as possible.


Before Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7: Bible Study & Discussion Questions

Episode 7 of The Chosen Season functions primarily as a set up for the big events in Episode 8. Even so, it contains one of Jesus' major teachings, the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:12-24), as well as a minor miracle story about the healing of a man who's deaf/mute (Mark 7:31-37). It also contains a reading from the Book of Esther, an interesting commentary on the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 1:1-17), and some brief allusions to the prophetic books.


If you've been going through all of my discussion guides, you may recall that I included the Parable of the Great Banquet in my guide for Episode 2 of The Chosen Season 1. In that guide, I used the parable to illustrate Jesus' vision of Sabbath and feasting in contrast with the vision of Sabbath practiced by the Pharisees. Episode 7 of The Chosen Season 3 explores the Parable of the Banquet through a different lens, focusing primarily on what the parable has to say about the inclusion of Gentiles in the Kingdom of God. Since the passage is so central to the episode and the emphasis is different from the previous discussion, I'll be including it in this Bible study as well.


Mary Magdalene and Matthew in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7
Mary Magdalene and Matthew in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7

Before you look at the passage, ask your group:

  • Before the coming of Jesus, why do you think God focused his work of redemption primarily on the Jewish people? What was his goal?

  • Over the centuries, the Jewish people experienced oppression under many different Gentile empires like Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Rome. How do you think that affected the way Gentiles were viewed by Jews?

  • Most Gentiles in the ancient world practiced some form of polytheism and had very different views of moral issues like sex outside of marriage, drunkenness, and infanticide. They also didn't practice ceremonial rules like circumcision and eating kosher. How do you think that affected the way that Gentiles were viewed by Jews?

  • Imagine you were a Jew in the time of the early church and you heard that Gentiles were being invited in to become members of the people of God. How do you think you would feel? What would your concerns be?

  • Imagine you were a Gentile and you were aware of the negative way that you were viewed by many Jews. Even if you believed that the Bible was true, why might it still be difficult to join the people of God?

You can explain to your group:

  • Although Jesus engaged with Gentiles throughout his ministry, the inclusion of Gentiles within the Christian community only really began to take off in the years after his ascension, as the church spread out from Judea into the broader world and Gentiles began to embrace the Gospel in large numbers.

  • As the early Christians grappled with the debate over whether they should include the Gentiles on a full footing within their communities, even if they didn't practice the Ceremonial Jewish Law, Christian leaders looked back to the teachings and parables of Jesus for wisdom.

  • Jesus' desire to see all kinds of people included in the Kingdom is perhaps best expressed in the Parable of the Great Banquet.

  • As we read, keep in mind a couple principles for interpreting parables:

    • On the one hand, we should recognize that parables are short fictional stories that Jesus used to illustrate controversial truths about the Kingdom of God; we aren't meant to take every detail literally.

    • On the other hand, we should also recognize that parables are not meant to be elaborate allegories. We don't need to turn every detail into a symbol. Usually a parable illustrates just one or two main ideas.

Have someone read:

When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” (Luke 14:15-24, ESV)

After reading, ask your group:

  • In the parable, what do the master of the house and his banquet represent?

  • Those who were originally invited to the banquet - and who had probably already responded "Yes" to an initial RSVP - offer excuses and skip out when the time of the party has come. Consider the groups that we've seen portrayed in The Chosen so far. Who do you think the characters that excuse themselves from the party are meant to represent?

  • What is the warning that Jesus is giving through the parable? Why would it be controversial among Jews?

  • When those who were originally invited to the party decide to excuse themselves, the master of the house tells his servants to go and bring in the poor, crippled, blind, and lame - and anyone else who can be found, even on the outskirts of town and in disreputable places. Who do you think these new guests to the party are meant to represent?

  • What is the offer that Jesus is giving through the parable? Why would it also be controversial among Jews?

  • Imagine you were one of the people characterized as the poor, crippled, blind, and lame, even though you were able-bodied and respected within your society. How do you think you would react to this parable?

  • Today, we're very used to the idea that Gentiles can be included in the Kingdom of God [Depending on the makeup of your group, you could add: in fact, some/many/most of us are ethnically Gentiles]. Still, would you be surprised to learn that people from a certain ethnic, social, or political group were becoming a part of God's kingdom in large numbers? How do you think you would react?

You can explain:

  • In today's episode, we're going to begin to see the disruption and conflict that result when Gentiles in the area of the Decapolis start repenting and expressing interest in Jesus.

  • Pay attention to how the different disciples react to the situation. As you watch, consider how you would probably react if you were in the same situation and had experienced the same history as the Jewish disciples.

Andrew in The Chosen Season 3
Andrew in The Chosen Season 3

After Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 7: Discussion Questions

After watching an episode of The Chosen, I typically ask people a couple basic questions:

  • What stuck out to you about the episode? What did you connect with the most?

  • Did you have any questions? Was anything unclear?

As always, if the conversation takes on a life of its own, I encourage you to run with it instead of feeling bound by the questions that follow. However, if you need more structure, you can point out to your group:

  • When some Gentiles in the Decapolis overhear the teachings of Jesus and begin to repent, what's the fallout?

  • This episode reminds us that back in Episode 2 Jesus instructed the disciples to not share the Gospel with Gentiles but instead to focus on preaching to the Jews. Why do you think Jesus began his ministry by explicitly avoiding ministry to the Gentiles?

  • What are some of the unique obstacles that Jesus and the disciples face in trying to minister to the Gentiles of the Decapolis?

  • Can you think of similar obstacles that we may sometimes face while sharing the Gospel in new areas or across social, political, and ethnic lines?

  • Under orders from Jesus, Andrew and Philip initially attempt to address the situation of the Decapolis on their own before finally returning and asking Jesus to intervene. Do you think they are to blame for the situation? Why or why not?

  • When God gives you a weighty task and things go wrong, do you think God blames you? Do you tend to blame yourself?

  • What does Jesus say to Andrew and Philip about the situation? How can this point be an encouragement to us as well when we are given weighty tasks?

That's it for this study! Of course, there's a lot of other potential trajectories for discussion, particularly related to Matthew's story. A single study can't cover everything, but, if you sense that members of your group may connect more significantly with another theme from the episode, don't hesitate to follow a tangent and trust the Spirit to lead!


 

A New Resource for Studying The Chosen

If you're like me, watching The Chosen is about more than entertainment. Bible movies & shows like The Chosen provide us with fresh eyes to see the significance of the Bible and the beauty of the Gospel. That's why I'm excited to share with you a new resource that I've created to help you study biblical adaptations & reflect on how they apply to everyday life. Come and See is a devotional journal designed specifically for studying Bible movies and shows like The Chosen. It includes sections for you to take notes on each episode's plot, your favorite quotes, personal connections, questions, and, of course, Scripture references. Whether you're studying on your own or with your small group or ministry, Come and See is a perfect resource to help you dig deeper into The Chosen.


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If you liked this post, you might want to check out some of my other posts on The Chosen and Bible adaptation. I have Bible studies/discussion guides for each episode of The Chosen Seasons 1-3, blogs exploring how The Chosen adapts key biblical figures, and articles exploring the controversial nature of adaptation. I hope you enjoy them!


The Chosen Season 4


The Chosen Season 3


Adapting Biblical Characters Series


Artist Interviews (The Bible Artist Podcast)


Exploring The Chosen with Youth or Small Group [Discussion Guides]

Season 3

Season 2

Season 1

Specials


The Chosen Controversies Series


How to Discuss The Chosen - and Why


Themes & Theology of The Chosen [Exclusive for BMC Members]

Season 4


Season 1

Specials


Mailbag Q&R


The Chosen Thematic Viewing Guides


Beyond The Chosen


Other Bible Adaptations