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Intensity in Tent City (Exploring The Chosen Season 3 Episode 6 with Youth or Small Group)

Updated: Jan 19

Episode 6 of The Chosen Season 3 adapts Matthew 11/Luke 7:18-35, a story in which messengers come from the imprisoned John the Baptist to Jesus, pressing him to declare whether he is indeed the one foreshadowed and foretold in the Old Testament. It also picks up on several minor threads that have been slowly developing over the course of The Chosen Season 3:

  • Simon Z comes face to face with the Zealot assassin who has been pursuing him

  • As Quintus' frustration over the Tent City situation reaches a boiling point, he pressures Gaius to take more forceful action

  • Atticus Aemilius goes to Jerusalem to bring Pontius Pilate a report on the situation in Capernaum

  • The Pharisees' outrage over the ministry and claims of Jesus continues to grow

  • The passive aggressive sparring between Tamar and Mary Magdalene comes to a head

  • Andrew and Philip have to respond to a crisis created by their recent trip

For more details on what happened during the episode, check out my recap, review, and analysis.


Big James and Simon Peter in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 6, Intensity in Tent City
Big James and Simon Peter in The Chosen Season 3 Episode 6, Intensity in Tent City
 

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If you're planning on watching Episode 6 of The Chosen Season 3 with your youth ministry, small group, or family, you may want to study the biblical passage that it's based on beforehand. To help you do that, I've put together a Bible study and some discussion questions.


Before Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 6: Review Questions

Season 3 of The Chosen is more interconnected than Season 2, and so I would strongly suggest watching and discussing the previous five episodes before watching Episode 6. It'll also help if you do a little review discussion, because there's a lot that's happened in Season 3 o far. I'd begin by pointing out:

  • Episode 6 of The Chosen Season 3 will adapt a biblical story that involves messengers of John the Baptist coming to Jesus.

  • In The Chosen, John the Baptist isn't a main character like Simon Peter or Matthew, but he's still had a significant role. [Check here for more insight into how The Chosen adapts John the Baptist]

Now I'd ask:

  • Toward the end of The Chosen Season 2, John the Baptist was arrested. Why?

  • Which disciples have been affected the most by John's arrest? How have we seen them respond?

  • In Episode 1 of Season 3, we were introduced to a woman named Joanna. Who is she and what's her connection to John the Baptist?

  • When Andrew went to visit John in prison, how was John doing? Did his imprisonment seem to affect his view of Jesus at all?

  • What are some differences between the attitude and approach of Jesus and John the Baptist?

After discussing John, I'd review some of the other related events in Season 3:

  • Toward the beginning of Season 3, Jesus sent the Apostles out in pairs to spread his teaching and perform miracles. Since they've returned from their journey, how have we seen the Apostles struggling? What questions and struggles have they been wrestling with?

  • During Episode 4, the local water source became polluted. This situation forced Simon Peter and the Roman Centurion Gaius to work together. What did Simon and Gaius learn about each other?

  • Earlier in Season 3, we learned that a Tent City had sprung up on the outskirts of Capernaum, filled with pilgrims who are hoping to meet Jesus. What was Quintus' initial response to the Tent City? What did Atticus and Gaius convince him to do instead?

  • Toward the beginning of Season 3, Jesus asked Mary Magdalene and Tamar to care for the pilgrims in the Tent City and to find a way to generate income for ministry. In what ways have they struggled to work together?

  • During the most recent episode, Jesus healed a woman with a bleeding condition and he raised Jairus' dead child back to life. In doing so, he came into physical contact with people who were considered ritually unclean according to the Law of Moses. Why did Jesus' response enrage the Pharisees?

  • Most of the disciples were celebrating after the events of the recent episode. Why did Eden have a very different emotional reaction?

I know that's a lot of review. If you've got a group that's pretty sharp, you can probably trim out a few questions. You'll just want to make sure that everyone is tracking with the events of the season so far so that they can get as much as possible out of Episode 6.


John the Baptist in The Chosen Season 3
John the Baptist in The Chosen Season 3

Before Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 6: Bible Study & Discussion Questions

While Episode 6 includes many events that were invented for the purposes of the show, as I noted above, it adapts at least one significant narrative taken directly out of the Gospels. To begin your study, have someone in your group read the passage:

The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’
I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)
“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,
“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” (Luke 7:18-35, ESV)

John the Baptist and Jesus in The Chosen
John the Baptist and Jesus in The Chosen

I would explain to your group:

  • This passage takes place while John the Baptist is in prison, just before his execution by Herod Antipas, a local ruler put in power by the Roman Empire.

  • This passage is one of the main sources of information that we have about John the Baptist. It helps us better understand who he was and what he was like.

Then ask:

  • Based on what Jesus shares, what can we learn about John's role and his personality?

  • We're told a little bit about the sharp contrast between the public perception of John and the public perception of Jesus. How were they viewed differently by the world?

  • Just like today, children in the ancient world used to play make believe. Jesus gives a short parable about how some children want to do a make believe wedding and a make believe funeral and are mad that the other children won't do what they're told. How does this parable reflect the way that people responded to John and Jesus?

Now I would point out:

  • The passage begins with some of John's followers asking Jesus if he is indeed the one who is to come.

  • John's question is puzzling to some interpreters, because by this point John has already seen the Holy Spirit land on Jesus and he has already told his followers that Jesus is the Lamb of God.

Now you can ask:

  • Why do you think John has his followers ask Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come or shall we look for another?"?

You can point out:

  • Jesus responds to John's question by healing many people and casting out demons.

  • He then makes an allusion to a prophecy by Isaiah.

Have someone read:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35, ESV)

After reading the passage, you can explain:

  • In this passage, the prophet Isaiah predicts how the Lord will return his people back home from exile and judgment.

  • The passage frames the end of Israel's exile as a second exodus, even greater than the exodus led by Moses.

Then I would ask:

  • Instead of simply saying, "Yes, I am the Messiah," why do you think Jesus refers to this passage? What does he want to emphasize about his ministry and identity?

  • What are some potential misunderstandings of the Messiah that Jesus may be correcting?

  • Jesus ends his message to John by saying "Blessed is the one who is not offended by me." What do you think he means? How do you think he intends to encourage John?


The Disciples and the crowds watch Jesus in The Chosen Season 3
The Disciples and the crowds watch Jesus in The Chosen Season 3

After Watching The Chosen Season 3 Episode 6: 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, I would point out:

  • As it's portrayed in Episode 6 of The Chosen Season 3, perhaps the most significant about the exchange between Jesus and the disciples of John the Baptist is that it's in public view and seen by a wide range of people.

Now ask your group:

  • Why do you think the disciples of John were so hesitant about delivering their message to Jesus in public? What are they worried about?

  • Up until this season, Jesus has tried to avoid answering questions about his identity in public. However, in Episode 3 of Season 3 he openly declared to the people of Nazareth that he was fulfilling a Messianic prophecy and in this episode he responds to John's question about his Messianic identity in a very public way. Are we seeing a change in Jesus' approach to ministry? If so, why do you think he's making that change?

If you have a white board, have it ready. Tell your group:

  • Let's list all the characters who were present during the exchange between Jesus and the disciples of John and the speech that followed

As your group identifies each character, write their names up on the white board. Once you have most of the important characters on the board, ask:

  • As the Zealot assassins listened to Jesus and watched him perform miracles, what do you think was going through their heads? How did they react?

  • As Gaius listened to Jesus and watched him perform miracles, what do you think was going through his head? How did he react?

  • As Barnaby listened to Jesus and watched him perform miracles, what do you think was going through his head? How did he react?

  • As the local Pharisee (not Yussif) listened to Jesus, what do you think was going through his head? How did he react?

  • Although we may not have the opportunity to hear Jesus in the flesh and witness his miracles, we still see similar dynamics. People react to Jesus in a variety of ways. Can you think of some moments when you've seen people have radically different responses to the exact same story, sermon, or truth about Jesus?

  • Why do people have such radically different responses to Jesus?

  • How should we respond when people react to Jesus in a negative way?

Hope this guide is helpful for your discussion! There's a lot to dig into in Episode 6, including some significant moments that I didn't cover as much, so keep in mind that this is merely a guide not a rulebook. Follow where the Spirit leads and may God use your conversations to bless many!


 

Further Reading

An adaptation like The Chosen isn't meant to replace the Bible; it's meant to drive us deeper into the Bible and spiritual reflection. As an adaptation, The Chosen sometimes has to fudge with the biblical timeline. This blended harmony presents all the events recorded in the Gospels in a single streamlined narrative that's meant to deliver a chronologically accurate picture of Jesus' ministry.

FYI: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here for my affiliation policy.

 

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 3

Adapting Biblical Characters Series

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


Season 3

Season 2

Season 1

Specials

The Chosen Controversies Series

Beyond The Chosen