What to Expect in The Chosen Season 4
Updated: 5 days ago
The Chosen Season 4 began shooting recently and it is natural for fans to be curious about what we can expect in the new season. For the most part, I try to avoid spoilers, but I happened to come upon an interview with Dallas Jenkins in which he suggested that Season 5 of The Chosen will focus on the events of Holy Week leading up to (but not including) the crucifixion. That was a surprise to me, because I hadn't expected Holy Week until Season 6. Taking that bit of data as a starting point (and without seeking out any other spoilers), I want to reflect on where Season 3 of The Chosen left off and the key biblical events that remain before making some predictions about what we can expect in The Chosen Season 4.
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Where The Chosen Season 3 Leaves Off
Episode 8 of The Chosen Season 3 left us with a number of dangling storylines:
The Gaius Story
Over the course of Season 3, Gaius and Simon Peter gradually develop a friendship and we begin to learn more about Gaius' personal life. By the end of Episode 7, we have learned that Gaius has a servant boy, who is actually his own illegitimate child. The boy is seriously ill and Gaius has told his wife that they could potentially bring him to a Jewish doctor (Jesus), but he hasn't followed through yet. Gaius and his wife have an unspoken agreement to not talk about the child's origin, but, since the child grew sick, Gaius has been racked with guilt over his decision to not publicly acknowledge the child as his own son. All of this is obviously setting up the story of Jesus healing the Centurion's servant/the official's son.
The John the Baptist Story
The Chosen Season 3 begins with John the Baptist languishing in Herod's dungeon. Toward the end of the season, he sends messengers to Jesus to ask if he is indeed the Messiah, which leads to one of Jesus' most public declarations of his identity yet. Season 3 ends with John still in jail, awaiting his fate.
The Jesus Story
When Season 3 opens, Jesus' popularity is on the rise. In response to the growing demand for his teaching and ministry, he commissions the Apostles and sends them out to the surrounding towns and villages to preach and perform miracles. Up until this point, Jesus has been careful to not reveal his intentions openly, but circumstances begin to force his hand. A dispute in his hometown of Nazareth leads Jesus to declare that he is the fulfillment of prophecies in Isaiah and that he is the Law of Moses. John the Baptist also sends messengers to confirm who he is and Jesus takes the opportunity to discuss his identity publicly. Jesus also offers his disciples the clearest sign of his divine nature yet by walking to them over the water in the Season 3 finale. By the end of Season 3, it seems like Jesus is about to make a significant pivot in how he approaches his mission.
The Shmuel Story
Halfway through Season 3, Shmuel finally gets a minor victory: the Sanhedrin issues an edict forbidding false teaching - and that specifically condemns anyone who claims to be the Son of Man. By Episode 7, however, Shmuel has made very little progress in his attempt to find witnesses that he could use to condemn Jesus on the basis of the edict. In Episode 8, when he hears news of the Feeding of the 5,000, Shmuel rushes to the Decapolis. There, he has his first face-to-face encounter with Jesus since Season 1, and Jesus treats him very graciously. Unfortunately, Shmuel is caught up victimizing himself to recognize that grace. He ends the season having made relatively little progress but continues to be just as convinced of the rightness of his cause as he ever was.
The Quintus Story
When the Tent City begins to form on the outskirts of Capernaum at the beginning of Season 3, Quintus is pretty angry. His initial impulse is to smash, but Atticus' alternative proposal and fear of Pilate convinces him to stay his wrath. In Episode 6, it seems like Quintus intends to return to his original plan when he commands Gaius to remove the people of the Tent City. But when Gaius decides to not enforce Quintus' command, we never see the consequences. By the end of Season 3, we're left wondering what Quintus will do next.
The Atticus Story
Atticus' goals and motives are a bit of a mystery. On the one hand, he's a Roman investigator who is close friends with Pilate and whose normal job is to investigate Jewish threats. On the other hand, throughout Season 3 of The Chosen, he helps the Jesus movement in several small but significant ways. When Quintus first threatens to destroy the Tent City, it is Atticus' input that cools him down and encourages him to shift in another direction. When the Zealots begin pursuing Simon Z, Atticus shows up to warn him. When Pilate inquires about Capernaum, Atticus' explanation of the situation minimizes the potential danger of Jesus. Finally, we see him spying on Shmuel's investigation of Jesus. To cap everything off, the show leaves us wondering whether Atticus saw Jesus walking on the water or not.
The Decapolis Story
When Jesus initially sends out the disciples, he instructs them to go only to Jews and not to Gentiles. While Andrew and Philip are preaching to Jews in the Decapolis, however, some Gentiles overhear and convert. This leads to significant social upheaval and conflict in the area. Jesus' visit to the area in Episode 7 and Episode 8 seems to pacify the situation for the time being, but it seems possible that more problems will arise in the future.
The Judas Story
At the beginning of Season 3, Judas decides to leave his shady business partner in order to join the disciples of Jesus. When his partner objects and threatens to sue, Judas talks him down for the time being. Judas goes on to give his home into the keeping of his sister, who worries about his safety. Judas isn't worried though - he is confident that God will not allow the Messiah to be killed. We don't get much time with Judas for the remainder of the season, but these moments lay the groundwork for future conflict.
The Yussif, Jairus, & Nicodemus Story
At the beginning of Season 3, Yussif pens a letter to Nicodemus to tell him about the Sermon on the Mount. Jairus holds onto the letter temporarily to let Yussif cool down a bit and consider whether he really wants to pursue the course of following Jesus. By mid-season, however, both Jairus and Yussif have become convinced and begin confide in one another about their newfound faith in Jesus. This faith is strengthened all the more when Jairus witnesses Jesus resurrect his (apparently) dead daughter. But the other local Pharisee leader continues to oppose Jesus and disapproves of their sympathy for him. With the Edict of the Sanhedrin, Jairus and Yussif may vulnerable to expulsion or other pushback from the anti-Jesus faction of the Pharisees. Nicodemus has been MIA for two seasons, but it certainly seems likely that the growing pushback against the Jesus movement as well as Shmuel rising influence will pose trouble for him as well.
The Bible and The Chosen Season 4
The creators of The Chosen have taken liberty in reordering many biblical events to suit the purposes of their narrative and message. Given how much the biblical writers do this, I think it's totally justified. But even though the biblical writers feel free to arrange events for thematic and literary reasons, there are general temporal constraints to how the story of Jesus is told. Regardless of the specific gospel, some events tend to be around the beginning, some events happen somewhere in the middle, and some events don't happen until Holy Week or later.
Even though the creators of The Chosen may rearrange events within certain periods of Jesus' life, I'm assuming that they will follow the general outline of the gospels and keep middle events somewhere in the middle and end events somewhere around the end (i.e. during Holy Week and later). So if it's true that Season 5 will be focused on Holy Week, that means we can have a pretty good idea of what to expect in Season 4, that is the remaining events that take place in the vicinity of Capernaum.
Biblical Events Likely in The Chosen Season 4
The healing of the servant/son of the Centurion/Officer (Gaius)
The death of John the Baptist
Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ and Jesus foretells his death
Jesus napping on the boat
The exorcism of the Gerasene Demoniac
The story of Mary and Martha
The raising of the widow of Nain's son
Jesus meets Zacchaeus
Jesus and the rich young ruler
The faith of the Canaanite woman
Biblical Events Possibly in The Chosen Season 4 or Season 5
Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead
Jesus saying, "Before Abraham was I am."
The healing of blind Bartimaeus
A sinful woman wiping Jesus' feet with her hair
Biblical Events Likely in The Chosen Season 5
The triumphal entry
The betrayal of Jesus
Jesus' debates with the Sadducees & Herodians
Any other events from Holy Week
The timeline compression will prevent Jesus from visiting Jerusalem as frequently as he does in the Gospel of John.
The Chosen won't be able to include every biblical event. It will likely combine similar events and leave out others. For example, I'm guessing we won't get the sending of the 72 , because it's too similar to the commissioning of the Apostles.
What The Chosen Season 4 could look like
My guess is that Peter's confession and the Transfiguration (which follows soon after) will be the most important events of Season 4. The relative timing of these moments will determine the shape of the remaining season. To show what I mean, let me propose three potential shapes for Season 4 based on when the confession & Transfiguration take place.
Transfiguration Early in Season 4
Episode 1: Death of John the Baptist
Episode 2: Peter's confession and the Transfiguration
Episode 1-4: Healing of Gaius' son
Episode 8: Raising of Lazarus
In this scenario, the confession and Transfiguration function in Season 4 similar to how the commissioning of the Apostles functioned in Season 3. It will serve as an inciting incident that drives the action for the remainder of the season. After the Transfiguration, Jesus sets his face toward Jerusalem and begins his journey there. That means that events like the healing of Gaius' son will have to take place sometime before Jesus and the apostles set out.
For the past couple seasons, The Chosen has had a tendency to end with a big, spectacular event. If the big event isn't the Transfiguration, what will it be? There are plenty of miracles left, but compared to the Sermon on the Mount or the Feeding of the 5,000, most are unimpressive. Of the remaining options, the raising of Lazarus is the only one that seems like it could live up to what has come before.
Transfiguration Late in Season 4
Episode 3: Death of John the Baptist
Episode 1-7: Healing of Gaius' son
Episode 7-8: Peter's confession and the Transfiguration
If the Transfiguration isn't the inciting incident for Season 4, the other natural place for it would be in the the finale, where it could function as the big, spectacular conclusion. The Transfiguration would certainly stack up next to the Feeding of the 5,00 and the Sermon on the Mount. It would also serve well as a game-changing conclusion to the season, anticipating Jesus' journey to Jerusalem at the beginning of Season 5.
If the Transfiguration is the finale, Season 4 will focus on Jesus preparing himself and his disciples for that important moment. John's death early in the season could lead Jesus to recognize that it's time to act - something John would appreciate, given how he kept trying to get Jesus to act.
In each season so far, episode 3 has been a self-contained bottle episode. Instead of cutting between multiple storylines, these episodes focus on a single storyline that is more loosely connected to the rest of the season. The story of why Herod executed John the Baptist seems like good material for a 1-off bottle episode.
Episode 1-3: Death of John the Baptist
Episode 4 or 5: Confession & Transfiguration
Episode 8: Raising of Lazarus
This configuration basically combines the previous two shapes. The benefit of this shape is that it provides a decent amount of time in Capernaum, but it also provides a few episodes for Jesus and the Apostles in their journey toward Jerusalem.
Okay, so those are some of my initial thoughts and predictions for The Chosen Season 4. I'm sure I'll have more as we get closer and find out more, but hopefully these provide you with food for thoughts for the time being. Have some predictions of your own? Feel free to leave them below!
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.