Updated: Apr 20
***Season 3 Updates Below***
Although The Chosen won't depict Good Friday or Easter for at least a couple more seasons, several episodes of The Chosen Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3 foreshadow the events surrounding Jesus' death & resurrection in interesting ways. In case you're looking for a way to encourage your family or youth group to anticipate or reflect on the significance of Good Friday & Easter, I've compiled a list of the top Good Friday/Easter Episodes of The Chosen (Seasons 1-3).
Season 1 Episode 1 (I Have Called You by Name)
In any good work of storytelling, elements in the beginning of a story will echo or anticipate elements in the end of the story. Episode 1 of The Chosen (Season 1) foreshadows the story of Jesus' resurrection in a subtle but significant way. Just as Mary Magdalene will be the first witness to encounter Jesus after his resurrection on Easter, she is also the first character to have an on-screen encounter with Jesus in The Chosen. Moreover, the way that Mary encounters Jesus in The Chosen Episode 1 Season 1 echoes how she will eventually encounter him after his resurrection. Both in Episode 1 of The Chosen & the Easter story, we see Jesus attempt to comfort Mary in the midst of her extreme grief, only for Mary to misperceive his identity and assume that he's someone trying to hassle her. It's only after Jesus says Mary's name that she recognizes who he is and is saved from her despair (again, both in Episode 1 of The Chosen & the Easter story).
As you watch through Episode 1 of The Chosen Season 1, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) what added significance you can find in the events unfolding if you see them as closely tied to the events surrounding Jesus' resurrection on Easter Sunday. How is Mary's sorrow in this episode connected to the sorrow that she will be experiencing before she encounters the resurrected Jesus on Easter?
Season 1 Episode 5 (The Wedding Gift)
Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 1 centers around Jesus' first public "sign" - the transformation of water into wine in order to prevent a wedding from turning into a social disaster. In the Gospel of John, this scene is closely linked to Jesus' crucifixion. These are the only two scenes in John featuring Mother Mary, in both scenes Jesus addresses her as woman, and in both scenes he demonstrates his care for her (water also plays an important role in both). Moreover, in the scene at Cana, Jesus refers ominously to "his hour" that has not yet come - "the hour" being a phrase that is often used in John to refer to the crucifixion. The Chosen doesn't link the Cana scene & the crucifixion in exactly all the same ways (that would not be possible given how it functions as an adaptation), but it still clearly suggests the connection between the Cana event and what lies ahead in Jesus' ministry through some really effective visual and musical storytelling.
As you watch through Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 1, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) why John & The Chosen are linking together this rather "mundane" miracle and the crucifixion of Jesus. In what sense can we connect together a wedding feast in need of wine and the death of the Messiah on Good Friday?
Season 1 Episode 7 (Invitations)
Episode 7 of The Chosen Season 1 begins with Moses making a bronze serpent to place on a pole and it culminates in Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus, which famously references the same Old Testament story. Nicodemus' encounter with Jesus raises an important question: what does it mean to be the Messiah? Although (in The Chosen) Nicodemus leaves convinced that Jesus is indeed from God, it's clear that he's still struggling to understand what that means and what Jesus has come to do. Jesus gives a cryptic answer through his reference to the bronze serpent incident, and The Chosen invites us to meditate more deeply on the meaning of this Old Testament event by beginning the episode with a direct depiction of the scene.
As you watch through Episode 7 of The Chosen Season 1, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) what are the similarities between the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up and Jesus' crucifixion? How does this event help us better understand the significance of Jesus' death on Good Friday?
Season 2 Episode 3 (Matthew 4:24)
Episode 3 of Season 2 is one of my favorite episodes of The Chosen. It provides a very intriguing window in to the "everyday" life of the disciples and the struggles that they faced as they sought to come together as followers of Jesus. It also anticipates Maundy Thursday & Good Friday in some interesting ways. The internal conflict amongst the disciples anticipates the "not I, Lord" conflict that will break out when Jesus reveals that one of them will betray him. More significantly, when Jesus finally appears on screen at the end of the episode after a day of healing, the state that we see him in - exhausted and weak as a result of all the pain and sickness he has healed - hints at the weakness and exhaustion that he'll be put through when he takes an even greater degree of pain and death (and spiritual sickness) on himself on the cross on Good Friday. Along with that, we see his mother, Mary, washing his feet at the end of a long day, an act of humble service that anticipates the humble service Jesus will demonstrate in washing the feet of his disciples on Maundy Thursday.
As you watch through Episode 3 of The Chosen Season 2, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) what the connection is between Jesus' ministry of healing and his suffering on the cross on Good Friday. How are we healed - both from our experience of physical decay and from the spiritual and moral decay we see on display among the disciples?
Season 2 Episode 4 (The Perfect Opportunity)
Episode 4 of The Chosen Season 2 gives us one of the most direct anticipations of the crucifixion in the entire show. As Jesus and the disciples travel to Jerusalem, they come across Zealots being crucified for their violent rebellion against Rome. Jesus looks upon the criminals with a look of grim foreknowledge. Episode 4 of The Chosen Season 2 also invites us, once again, to ponder what it means to be the Messiah of Israel. We get an in-depth depiction of the Zealots, who expect the Messiah to come as a warrior bringing death and destruction on the oppressive enemies of God's people. Meanwhile, the actual Messiah, Jesus, is busy healing a disabled man who has languished in poverty while his brother was off living as a Zealot.
As you watch through Episode 4 of The Chosen Season 2, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) how Jesus, the peaceful, healing Messiah, died on a cross like the violent Zealots. What does it mean that Jesus' kingdom was not of this world, and how is his willing death on the cross the ultimate demonstration of this?
Season 2 Episode 7 (Reckoning)
In Episode 7 of The Chosen Season 2, we see the highly-anticipated but much-delayed first encounter between Jesus and Quintus, the "villain" of Season 1 of The Chosen. Leading up to their encounter, Jesus is arrested for the first time by Romans, and Jesus' followers argue about how they should respond. Some want to wait around (which is what Jesus told them to do), while others want to try to set Jesus free through violence, while others want to investigate other options. The fighting among the disciples in Episode 7 of The Chosen Season 2 is clearly meant to anticipate what we'll be seeing after Jesus' final arrest and crucifixion on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday - a final fracturing of their fellowship that will only be fully mended when the resurrected Jesus on Easter. Jesus' interaction with Quintus and Quintus' bafflement about how to take Jesus also clearly foreshadows the way Jesus will interact with Pilate and Herod and Pilate's difficulty understanding what to do with him.
As you watch through Episode 4 of The Chosen Season 2, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) what would it have been like to be a disciple who watched Jesus get taken away to be crucified by the authorities on Good Friday. What was it about Jesus before his crucifixion that puzzled the ruling authorities of his day?
Season 3 Episode 1 (Homecoming)
Episode 1 of The Chosen Season 3 sets the stage for one of the most tragic and intriguing events in the final days of Jesus, the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. Although we met Judas at the end of Season 2, this episode provides us with a much fuller picture of who he is and what he wants. Jesus Films sometimes portray Judas as crooked from the start: interested in the privileges or power that come with following Jesus but unconcerned with Jesus' actual message and mission. By contrast, in Episode 1 of The Chosen Season 3 Judas is captivated by the message of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and immediately offers to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth in order to serve his mission.
But Episode 1 of Season 3 also plants some significant red flags. When Judas decides to join up with the followers of Jesus, his slimy mentor threatens to sue him. While Judas is able to deescalate the situation in the moment, it's clear that the mentor's toxic influence will cause problems in the future. The way that Judas approaches Jesus, boasting of his qualifications as if he were at a job interview, shows a lack of humility. Perhaps most significantly, when his sister expresses concern for his safety, Judas expresses confidence that God would never allow the Messiah to be harmed, even though Jesus warned that following him would mean doing hard things and even giving up his life. If you've ever read through the events of the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and pondered why Judas would give Jesus up and why Jesus would allow Judas to be an Apostle to begin with, Episode 1 of The Chosen Season 3 will provide you with some valuable food for thought.
As you watch through Episode 1 of The Chosen Season 3, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) why Judas might have eventually betrayed Jesus. Do you think he was he a bad seed from the start or could he have made a different decision? If he was a bad seed, why would Jesus allow him to become an Apostle? And if he wasn't a bad seed, what do you think caused him to change?
Season 3 Episode 3 (Physician, Heal Thyself)
Episode 3 of The Chosen Season 3 marks another significant step on Jesus' path toward the cross. We see Jesus visit his mother in Nazareth for the final time. During their visit, Jesus asks his mother for an item that he has left at home, explaining that his time is coming. This clearly makes Mary uncomfortable and she questions whether he is sure, which he is. The item in question is a bridle, which we later learn is an heirloom handed down to him by Joseph that dates back to the Exodus from Egypt. I suspect that this bridle will be used on the donkey Jesus rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. By claiming the bridle, Jesus is preparing to launch a new Exodus that will bring "liberty to the captives" (Isaiah 61 and many of Isaiah's other prophecies about the Messiah are all framed as a second Exodus). Sadly, when Jesus declares his mission to his people, instead of receiving him, they come close to executing him. Mary thus gets a foretaste of her future sorrow at the foot of the cross. It's also quite fitting that this episode is when we meet Lazarus for the first time (excluding his cameo in The Messengers), since his death and resurrection are key events that cause the Jerusalem elites to plot against Jesus.
As you watch through Episode 3 of The Chosen Season 3, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth), how is the Second Exodus (the death and resurrection of Jesus) similar to and different from the original Exodus? What do you think it would it have been like for Jesus and his mother, Mary, to approach his coming death?
Season 3 Episode 6 (Intensity in Tent City)
Episode 6 of The Chosen Season 3 gives us our first glimpse at an event in the Passion Week and it also introduces us to a major player in the crucifixion, Pontius Pilate. The episode begins in a dream-vision of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while his disciples sleep and a serpent approaches. We soon learn that the dream belongs to the wife of Pontius Pilate, a foreshadowing how she will attempt to deter him from crucifying Jesus by telling him about her dreams. In case that foreshadowing wasn't strong enough, when Pilate's wife wakes up she finds Pilate observing the crucifixion of Jewish rebels from their porch. Throughout the episode Pilate himself is enigmatic - just as we would expect someone proudly wearing a serpent would be. On the one hand, we learn that Pilate has been officially reprimanded for being too forceful against Jewish uprising. He takes issue with Quintus being too aggressive against the Jews, not on moral grounds, but because it means Pilate himself will have to be more circumspect. On the other hand, when talking to Atticus, Pilate waxes poetically about his love for the Jews and his desire for peace. Clearly, The Chosen wants to complicate a figure who in other Jesus Films is often depicted simplistically.
As you watch through Episode 6 of The Chosen Season 3, consider (or discuss with your family, friends, or youth) why did Pontius Pilate execute Jesus? Do you think he was just an evil person or could he have been a person with good goals but bad means? How does the peace that Jesus brought about through his death compare to the peace that Rome brought about through its imperial power?
Hope these episodes help you, your family, friends, or youth prepare your hearts for Good Friday & Easter! If you have other key episodes that I missed, feel free to share below!
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. The 40 Days with Jesus series helps readers connect what they watch in The Chosen with the Gospel stories that they're based on and then engage in spiritual reflection.
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Contributing to The Bible Artist
Have my posts about Bible adaptation helped you learn more about the Bible and explore it with your ministry or family? I offer my work for free and rely on the generous support of readers like you. Your contributions mean so much. Thank you!
If you liked this post, I've done several posts on The Chosen and Bible adaptation that you might want to check out, including articles on how The Chosen adapts key biblical characters and discussion guides for each episode of The Chosen Season 1 and Season 2. You may also be interested in some of my other content on adaptation and youth ministry.
The Chosen Season 4
The Chosen Season 3
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***
Exploring The Chosen with Youth or Small Group [Discussion Guides]
Episode 1 Guide: Homecoming
Episode 2 Guide: Two by Two
Episode 3 Guide: Physician, Heal Thyself
Episode 4 Guide: Clean Part 1
Episode 5 Guide: Clean Part 2
Episode 6 Guide: Intensity in Tent City
Episode 7 Guide: Ears to Hear
Episode 8 Guide: The Feeding of the 5,000
Season 2 Reflection P1: What is The Chosen Season 2 about?
Season 2 Reflection P2: What was The Chosen Season 2 about? (Plots & Theme)
Episode 1 Guide: The Beloved Disciple
Episode 2 Guide: Philip, Nathanael, & Matthew
Episode 3 Guide: Life Among the Disciples of Jesus
Episode 4 Guide: Simon the Zealot & the Man at the Bethesda Pool
Episode 5 Guide: Mary's Demons & the Destiny of John the Baptist
Episode 6 Guide: Mercy and Not Sacrifice
Episode 7 Guide: Quintus Returns
Episode 8 Guide: Judas, Matthew, & the Sermon on the Mount
Episode 1 Guide: Mary Magdalene, Lilith, and the Redeemer
Episode 2 Guide: Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, and Shabbat
Episode 3 Guide: Depicting Jesus in Art, Film, and TV
Episode 4 Guide: When Jesus Met Simon (Peter)
Episode 5 Guide: Mary, Mother of Jesus
Episode 6 Guide: Jesus, Shmuel, & the Pharisees
Episode 7 Guide: Did Nicodemus Follow Jesus?
Episode 8 Guide: The Woman at the Well, Eden, & Zohara
The Chosen Controversies Series
Themes & Theology of The Chosen [Exclusive for BMC Members]
Beyond The Chosen
The Chosen: 9 Good Friday & Easter Episodes ***Season 3 Update***
Other Bible Adaptations
Recap & Review: His Only Son