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The Chosen Season 4 Episode 4: Recap, Review, & Analysis

Updated: Feb 27

Episode 4 of The Chosen Season 4 finally brings Gaius’ storyline to its long-awaited climax, with the story of the healing of the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13)/the official’s son (John 4:46-54). This story of a Gentile’s surprisingly humble faith in Jesus’ authority is cleverly paired with the story of the surprisingly arrogant power-grab of two of Jesus’ Jewish disciples (James and John) and Jesus’ famous redefinition of leadership and authority (Mark 10:35-45). Below, I’ll detail what exactly happens in Season 4 Episode 4 and then go on to share my thoughts on the episode and its key themes.


[You can find my recap, review, and analysis of Episode 5 here and Episode 6 here]


Kirk B. R. Woller as Gaius in Episode 4 of The Chosen Season 4
Kirk B. R. Woller as Gaius in Episode 4 of The Chosen Season 4

What Happened in The Chosen Season 4 Episode 4

Episode 4 has two main storylines - although the story of Jesus and the disciples itself feels a bit like two separate stories smooshed together:


Gaius, Quintus, Matthew, & Peter

As Episode 4 begins, Quintus is being assigned a sentence for murdering Ramah without cause. Although he escapes actual punishment, he is stripped of his role and demoted, presumably to the role of a centurion. Gaius, on the other hand, is freed by Atticus and promoted into Quintus’ old role as Praetor of Capernaum.


A few months pass by, during which we see (in a montage) Gaius as Praetor protecting Jesus by disposing of the reports about his preaching given by his soldiers.


Later, as the disciples are gathered at Peter’s home, Roman soldiers come to bring Matthew to Gaius. Matthew worries that Gaius is going to pressure him to return to his role as Publicanus, so Peter agrees to accompany him, curious as to what’s going on. When they arrive, Gaius welcomes them with a smile and warns them that Jesus is in trouble. Between the increased scrutiny from the Pharisees prompted by the Edict and the increased interest that Atticus has taken and the growing pressure on Gaius to crush religious extremism, it’s a dangerous time for Jesus to be teaching in Capernaum. Still, Gaius promises to keep Jesus safe as long as he keeps a low profile and ministers outside the city limits of Capernaum.


In the course of this discussion, Gaius suggests that he’s beginning to believe in Jesus. Peter picks up on this and encourages Gaius to ask Jesus to heal his son/servant. Gaius confirms that he does believe - but he feels unworthy to make a request to Jesus because of his past infidelity. Peter and Matthew comfort Gaius by explaining that they weren’t worthy of Jesus either - and that Jesus loves to take in outsiders - even if it means crossing the line dividing Jews from Gentiles. Convinced, Gaius decides to go ask Jesus, and Peter and Matthew happily observe that it seems like Gaius’ conversion is complete.


They lead Gaius to Peter’s house, where he falls on his knees before Jesus and asks him to heal his servant. When Jesus asks Gaius to take him to the boy, Gaius protests that he is not worthy for Jesus to enter his home, since the boy is the offspring of his infidelity, but professes his faith that Jesus has the authority to heal the boy with a mere word. Jesus marvels at Gaius’ bold, confident faith and declares that the boy is healed.


Departing, on his way home Gaius joyfully buys food, toys, wine, etc. to celebrate the healing of his son. When he returns, before his wife can announce the news, he tells her he already knows. His son comes out, alive and well, and Gaius proclaims Shalom (wholeness) upon him. His wife, picking up on the hint that he must have gone to the Jewish “doctor” rejoices in the Shalom that has come to her home.


Later, as Jesus privately grieves over his disciples’ lack of understanding, Gaius comes upon him and hugs him. In light of his disciples’ unbelief, the faith of Gaius brings Jesus great comfort.


Jesus and the Disciples

After the brief opening with Gaius, the show jumps to the disciples bearing the body of Ramah back to her home town of Tel Dor for burial. We get flashbacks from various characters, including:

  • Peter - in his flashback, he approaches Jesus in the immediate aftermath of Ramah’s death and asks him to do something to help Thomas, who is wailing. Peter feels like he’s failed as a leader and should be able to provide a more firm foundation for Thomas in his pain, but Jesus explains that this is not what Thomas needs. This is the way of all the earth, but saying this will not comfort Thomas - what Thomas needs is for Peter to be present with him in his pain. With this in mind, Peter approaches Thomas and tries to help him breathe and calm down.

  • Mary Magdalene - in her flashback, she expresses guilt to Tamar for not keeping an eye on Ramah, but Tamar insists that nothing could have stopped the evil in Quintus’ heart.

  • John - in his flashback, John, James, and Peter question why Jesus chose to resurrect Jairus’ daughter and yet didn’t help Ramah. Peter notes that God’s ways aren’t their ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and insists that they trust in the God who walks on water. 

  • Thomas - he briefly flashes back to moments with Ramah and then picks up where Peter’s flashback left off - after refusing to calm down or breathe, he is simply embraced by John.


Once the titles finish, we return to the disciples on the road, approaching Tel Dor. Thomas dreads the conversation he’s going to have with Kaphni - and on cue, Kaphni shows up with his relatives to collect the body. He refuses to let Thomas help bury her, accusing him of killing her. Thomas admits that he failed to keep his promise but insists that Ramah died pursuing her calling out of love for Jesus. Kaphni curses Jesus and accuses him of being a fraud and a deceiver, vowing to travel far and wide to expose him. Only Simon Z assertive presence is able to stop his vitriol.


Months pass -  communicated through a short montage that includes Zebedee, Mary, and Tamar traveling by Jerusalem, Judas counting funds, the disciples traveling in a caravan, Jesus healing a demoniac and a blind man, Kaphni denouncing Jesus, and Jesus preaching in town while a Pharisee and Centurion observe.


Jesus talks to Peter in The Chosen Season 4
Jesus talks to Peter in The Chosen Season 4

The episode picks back up in the home of Peter and Eden. As the disciples bicker childishly over the proper way to eat a pomegranate, Jesus leaves to be with Little James and Thaddeus. The fondly reminisce over when it was just the three of them and things were simpler. But Little James has an uncomfortable intuition, recalling how Jesus has predicted that he will suffer at the hands of the elders and chief priests. Jesus acknowledges that they will need to leave soon for Jerusalem.


As the disciples prepare for the journey to Jerusalem, Salome once again urges James and John to ask for seats at Jesus’ right and left hand. They soon do so - right in front of all the other disciples, who are all flabbergasted by the impudence. Jesus is even taken aback at how little they all understand and walks off. 


When the disciples catch up with him, he explains more clearly than ever that when they go to Jerusalem, the elders and priests will hand him over to the Gentiles and kill him and that in three days he will rise. The disciples don’t know what to make of this and wonder if he’s speaking metaphorically. Jesus returns to the question of authority and explains that all the disciples have leadership and foundational authority in his kingdom, but they must not think of leadership like Gentiles but rather must embrace his own model as a servant who gives his life as a ransom. Again, they don’t know what to make of the idea that he will be a ransom.


Frustrated, Jesus tells the disciples to go on without him and let him catch up. Going off alone, he cries and prays to God in the words of Psalm 38. There he is comforted by Gaius.


Review of The Chosen Season 4 Episode 4

Episode 4 wasn’t my favorite episode of the season so far, but there was a lot that I appreciated about it:

  • The demotion of Quintus and elevation of Gaius was a great cap to their conflict and a real concrete way to communicate the “first shall be last and the last shall be first” idea.

  • I like the flashbacks on the trip to Tel Dor and how the show used these to explore the headspace of several characters while also weaving them together into a coherent mini-narrative.

  • Many of the questions and wrestlings expressed by the characters in the wake of Ramah’s death felt on point, as did most of the acting.

  • Like I said above, I really like the thematic resonance created by contrasting a story of a powerful Gentile humbly trusting Jesus with the story of Jesus’ Jewish disciples squabbling over authority and completely missing the point. Jesus is astonished in both moments - but in a very different sense. Having Gaius comfort Jesus at the end is a clever way to bring the two stories together.

  • Jesus’ private moment with Little James and Thaddeus is poignant and beautiful.

  • Jesus emotional response to the request of James and John felt real and powerful.


Even though Episode 4 was a good episode, there were reasons why it wasn’t my favorite:

  • During the grieving scenes, some of the acting and some of the comments felt a bit unnatural/overly-didactic.

  • Above, I noted that the story of Jesus and the disciples really feels like two separate stories smooshed together - the story of the disciples grieving over Ramah and the story of Jesus teaching them about authority and his plan to go to Jerusalem. This felt a little unnatural - and I think it made the grieving for Ramah feel a bit rushed (I felt similar about how the grieving for John was handled in Episode 2).  Still, I see and appreciate some of the thematic connections that the episode was going for.

  • I don’t think the montage was executed well (cf. the excellent montage in Season 3 Episode 4). The transition into the montage was not clear, which left me confused for several moments, and the choice of scenes in the montage felt haphazard.

  • When I criticized the decision to not have the healing of Gaius’ son in Season 3, people said I just needed to wait and see and that the writers had their reasons. I get the reasons now - the show wanted Gaius to get elevated to his new rank and perhaps the creators also knew they wanted to pair this story with the servant leadership story - but I remain convinced that the healing would have worked better as a culmination of Gaius’ arc in Season 3. Here, it feels out of place, because we’ve been disconnected from the story for so long and we need Gaius to give a bunch of expositional reminders about his situation. I don’t see why Gaius couldn’t have had his son healed earlier - before being elevated in this episode.

  • There were a few parts of the portrayal of Gaius that I just didn’t buy. Largely, I was puzzled by how arbitrary the timing of his decision to approach Jesus felt. If Gaius was Praetor and believed in Jesus for months during the time represented by the montage, why did it take him so long to reach out to the disciples? It would have made so much more sense (and been more dramatic and more true to John 4) if Gaius’ son took a sudden and potentially fatal turn for the worse that prompted him to reach out to Jesus.


Key Themes of The Chosen Season 4 Episode 4

Several interesting themes tied Episode 4 together:


The Power of Presence in Grief

The death of Ramah leads the disciples to ask many questions and ponder if Jesus or any of them could have done things differently. At the end of the day, there are no answers to most of these questions and the biblical truths that are relevant - “this is the way of all the earth” and “God's ways are not our ways” provide little comfort. Some disciples want to soothe or manage the grief of the others, but this is not what those who grieve really need. What Thomas really longs for is mere presence - for his friends to sit with him or hug him in the midst of his pain - without trying to minimize what he's suffering.


We see a similar dynamic at work with Jesus. As the bickering of the disciples begins to eat at him, he seeks the presence of Thaddeus and Little James, friends that he knows he can sit by and be present with.


Later, grieved by his disturbing conversation with the disciples about authority and power, Jesus feels isolated and alone - as evidenced by his prayer, “My friends and companions stand aloof” (Psalm 38:11). Still, Gaius is able to bring him comfort by showing up and embracing him.


Jesus talks to Little James and Thaddeus in The Chosen Season 4 Episode 4
Jesus talks to Little James and Thaddeus in The Chosen Season 4 Episode 4

The Last Shall Be First & the First Last

The opening scene of Episode 4 is a perfect distillation of a major theme in Jesus’ teaching - the Great Reversal. Quintus, the proud and arrogant man who sought to cling onto his authority and status, is kicked down to the bottom of the totem pole. Gaius, the humble man who was often bore the brunt of Quintus rage and who was willing to surrender his authority and status for the sake of Jesus, is elevated to a higher station. The first becomes last and the last becomes first.


This theme also shows up as the more “important” disciples (e.g. Peter, James, and John) bickering with one another in Peter’s house. Caught up in their own petty squabbles, they are the last to perceive Jesus’ mental state and what lies ahead. It’s the meek “lesser” disciples (Thaddeus and Little James) who are the first to recognize what Jesus is going through and what may lie ahead. 


The reversal theme also becomes intertwined with the idea of “worthiness.” Because of his sin, Gaius considers himself to be the least worthy of Jesus’ help. Ironically, this is what demonstrates that he is indeed worthy of help - and of being hailed by Jesus for having more faith than all of Israel. On the other hand, because of their good deeds, James and John consider themselves to be worthy to sit beside Jesus and drink the cup that he will drink. This demonstrates that they are actually unworthy in the present moment - since they are seeking to be first in status and power like Gentiles do. The Last (those least worthy of honor) become First (those most worthy of honor), and those seeking to be First (most honored by Jesus) become Last (least honored by Jesus).


The Disciples Don’t Get the True Nature of Jesus’ Authority & Mission

Jesus’ teaching on servant leadership is essentially an ethical corollary to the idea of the Great Reversal. If the Last become First and the First Last then the way to become great is to choose to be the least and the way to gain authority is to act like a humble servant.


Before we hear Jesus’ teaching, we see at least hints of this principle already at work among the disciples. As Thomas grieves, the leaders of the disciples - Peter, James, and John - feel a unique sense of responsibility to care for him. Peter initially thinks that as a leader he must be strong and firm, but Jesus helps him see that the best way to lead Thomas is through the humble and mundane ministry of presence.


Still, whatever awareness the disciples have about Jesus’ vision of authority and leadership is paper thin, as we see demonstrated in how they seek to elevate themselves over one another, not through humility and acts of service but rather through petty debates. James and John go even further and try to outmaneuver the other disciples by asking for seats of pre-eminent authority in Jesus’ kingdom.


They have no clue what they are asking for, and so Jesus finally has to spill the beans and explain the bitter cup he must drink as King - his suffering and death at the hands of the religious leaders and the Gentiles. This is how Jesus exercises authority - by giving his life as a ransom for many. Unfortunately, the disciples don’t understand and soon get distracted by bickering. They fail to grasp what Jesus is saying about his own authority and mission - and how they can follow in his path.


Gaius also has some misconceptions about Jesus’ mission. When he calls Matthew and Peter into his office, he seems to think that Jesus can fulfill his mission while avoiding conflict - simply by doing more teaching and healing on the outskirts of the city, where he will attract less attention from Rome and the Pharisees. If Jesus’ goal was to increase his influence and following, this approach might work. But Jesus has come to serve us in a much more profound manner. He comes to suffer as our ransom - and this act of humble service can only be performed by embracing the suffering that awaits him in Jerusalem.


 

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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 1-4, 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 4

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