Life Among the Disciples of Jesus (Exploring The Chosen Season 2 Episode 3 with Youth)
Updated: 5 days ago
The Chosen Season 2 Episode 3 gives us a window into everyday life as a disciple of Jesus. The episode is titled "Matthew 4:24" in reference to one of several occasions in the Gospels where dozens of healings are summarized in a brief line:
So [Jesus'] fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. (Matthew 4:24 ESV)
The Chosen can sometimes follow a formulaic "miracle of the week" structure, in which each episode begins by setting up a person in need and then builds toward a climactic encounter with Jesus (usually with a few other side plots happening among the disciples). Episode 3 of The Chosen Season 2 breaks the typical mold in a powerful and innovative way. Just as Matthew 4:24 glosses over dozens of miracles in a single sentence, episode 3 isn't interested in a particular miracle or encounter with Jesus. In fact, Jesus is off screen for almost the entire episode and we don't see a single miracle that he performs, although we do hear about them as newly restored Samaritans rush by, proclaiming his deeds to the disciples. The miraculous encounters between Jesus and these Samaritans are really just a backdrop for the real drama of the episode - the effort of the disciples to come together in the face of personal insecurities and interpersonal conflict. The struggle of the disciples of Jesus to come together will be the focus of this guide.
Before we get to the conflict among the disciples, I do want to give a shout out to a more technical aspect episode 3 of The Chosen Season 2, which is also quite innovative. Much of this episode appears to have been executed in a single long tracking shot (or maybe a few of them woven together). If you don't know what a tracking shot is, it's when, instead of cutting from shot to shot and from scene to scene, the camera rolls continuously without cuts, following behind a character or two as they move around the area, then floating off to follow the conversation between a few more characters, then floating off again to follow yet more characters, who may end up encountering some of the characters from earlier. This is made possible because of how the episode is structured: instead of jumping back and forth between Jesus and the disciples and set up for a miracle-of-the-week, we're focused on only one location and one group of characters. Even so, it's an impressive feat for Jenkins to pull off - the coordination of all the moving parts and getting the lines right must have been a pain. In the end, it pays off and makes this episode of The Chosen a real stand out. If you have any youth who are interested in film as an art form, this episode of The Chosen will be fun for them.
The Chosen Season 2 Episode 3 Intro Questions: Matthew 4:24
Have your youth to read the following passage:
And [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. (Matthew 4:23-25 ESV)
Point out to your students:
The Gospels contain several passages like this where dozens - maybe even hundreds - of healings and exorcisms are summarized in the space of a sentence or two.
In another passage at the end of the Gospel of John, John says, "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25 ESV)
The Gospels focus on stories of healings that were especially memorable or had a symbolic meaning, but passages like this suggest that Jesus spent entire days healing people.
Now ask your youth:
Imagine being a disciple of Jesus on a day when he healed dozens of people. Picture what it would have been like. What do you think the disciples would have been up to while Jesus was busy healing?
As the disciples traveled and lived together, what topics do you think they would have talked about?
Explain to your students:
The episode we will watch is titled "Matthew 4:24" - in reference to the passage we just read. It tries to give us a picture of what life would have been like among the disciples on an "normal" day when Jesus was busy healing dozens of people.
Many episodes of The Chosen focus on how Jesus encounters a person in need, performs a miracle to help them, and then reveals part of his identity to the person in need. Today, there's no sickness or struggle with sin that Jesus needs to heal. Instead, the focus of the episode is on the effort of the disciples to come together as a team. Pay attention to how different disciples get along and relate to one another: what bonds them together and what keeps them apart? We'll discuss this after the episode.
For those of you who like film-making, pay attention to how this episode is shot. It's very unique.
Review Questions: The Chosen So Far
Since the story of The Chosen has grown increasingly complex in Season 2, it's a good idea to regularly review some relevant information from previous episodes (especially since there's not a regular "previously on The Chosen" segment). Here are a few questions you might want to review (no need to take too long - just a quick recap):
There are two pairs of brothers among the disciples of Jesus. Does anyone remember which disciples are related to one another? [Simon & Andrew and John & Big James] How do Simon & Andrew get along with John & Big James? What did Simon do in Season One of The Chosen that made John and James mad? How did they respond at the time?
How do Simon & Andrew feel about Matthew? Why is that?
Mary Magdalene, Ramah, and Matthew are all seeking to learn Torah (the Old Testament) for the first time. Philip is helping them out. How come they didn't learn Torah in their youth but the other disciples did?
Viewing The Chosen Season 2 Episode 3
You can find The Chosen Season 2 Episodes 2 & 3 on YouTube here (you'll need to skip ahead to about 1hr 20 mins to get through episode 2). I also encourage you to pick up The Chosen app (Google / Apple), since The Chosen will only post one more episode on YouTube before moving exclusively to the application.
While watching The Chosen, I make occasional comments through the chat but I try to not do too much teaching. I want the youth to enjoy it and not just see The Chosen as an elaborate preaching illustration. For the most part, I just clarify who characters are and occasionally I briefly explained a reference or allusion that is confusing to my youth.
The Chosen Season 2 Episode 3 Discussion Questions: Disciples in Conflict
To begin your discussion, ask your youth:
What stuck out to you about the episode? Do you have any questions?
Did this picture of daily life as a disciple of Jesus fit your expectations?
In what ways could you relate to the disciples as they were depicted in this episode? Did they do things or have conversations that you could see yourself having?
In what ways were the disciples very different from us, in terms of their culture and what they knew about God's plans?
Now I would point out to your students:
This episode was ultimately about the disciples coming together as a community of Jesus followers. Just like us, they had moments of fun, excitement, and wonder, but they also had moments of awkwardness, pain, and conflict.
In your Lit class, you've probably been taught how stories are driven by conflict, and there are really just a few basic types of conflict. In today's story, we saw three of the major types of conflict: Person vs. Person, Person vs. Self, and Person vs. Society.
Person vs. Person is the most common type of conflict in stories. It's when two people (or groups of people) disagree or have opposing goals and they fight, physically or socially.
Person vs. Self is also very common, but it's not quite as obvious. It's when a single person has opposing desires, beliefs, or feelings and that person has an internal struggle in order to decide what to do, think, or feel.
Person vs. Society is a little harder to grasp. It's when someone has a desire, goal, or belief that goes against the expectations of society as a whole - rather than being in conflict with a single person or group. So, for example, some societies have strict expectations about what women can and can't do. If a woman seeks to do something that goes against these expectations, she's in a Person vs. Society conflict.
After this, I would ask your youth to recall some of the major conflicts that showed up in today's episode and work to categorize these conflicts as Person vs. Person, Self, or Society [ideally I would chart this out on a white board, virtual chart, etc.]. Finding Person vs. Person conflicts will be the easiest, so I would start there and then move on to Self and the Society:
What were some of the Person vs. Person conflicts among the disciples? Which of the disciples were fighting each other? [For each conflict that gets brought up, ask: why were they fighting? What was the issue they had?]
What were some of the Person vs. Self conflicts that individual disciples seemed to be struggling with? [This one might be a bit harder. If your youth need help, bring up specific individuals: Matthew, Andrew, Thaddeus, Mary (Mother of Jesus)]
What were some of the Person vs. Society conflicts that some of the disciples seemed to be struggling with? [This one is even harder because the lines between this and the earlier categories are a little blurry. But I would point them to Matthew, Mary, and Ramah and the discussion the disciples have about the Law.]
Which of these conflicts in this episode of The Chosen did you relate to the most? Why?
Jesus shows up at the end of the episode, just as some of the Person vs. Person conflicts between the disciples are heating up. What effect did his appearance have? Why?
Contributing to The Bible Artist
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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 4 Controversy? (The Transfiguration of Jesus & the Second Commandment)
Reflecting on The Chosen Season 3 & Anticipating Season 4: What Worked & What to Fix
The Chosen Season 3
The Chosen Season 3 Episode 1 & Episode 2: Reaction and Analysis
The Chosen Season 3 Episodes 7 & 8: Recap, Review, & Analysis
The Chosen Season 3 Episodes 1 & 2: Questions to Discuss Before the Premiere
Adapting Biblical Characters Series
Thomas & Ramah in The Chosen & Scripture ***Season 3***
Yussif, Jairus, & Shmuel in The Chosen ***Season 3***
Quintus, Gaius, Atticus, and the Romans in The Chosen ***Season 3 Update***
Little James in The Chosen & Scripture ***Season 3***
Pontius Pilate & his Wife in The Chosen ***Season 3***
Judas in The Chosen ***Season 3 Update***
Matthew in The Chosen ***Season 3 Update***
Simon and Andrew in The Chosen ***Season 3 Update***