THE CHOSEN S1E3 In-Depth Summary & Review: The Rabbi & The Children

The Chosen, Season 1, Ep 3: “Jesus Loves the Little Children”

In this episode, Jesus hangs out with a group of local children before and during the beginning of his ministry.

There are quite a few Bible easter eggs in this episode, and I’ll try to point out the interesting ones in this recap/review!

About The Chosen

The Chosen is a multi-season “binge-able” TV series based on the life of Christ and his disciples. It’s the biggest crowdfunded project in the history of TV crowdfunding, not just for faith-based projects, but ever.

Pre-show disclaimer

In this article, I’ll be summarizing, reviewing, and giving relevant context for this episode of The Chosen.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: Read this article AFTER you’ve seen the show to avoid spoilers. You can watch the show for free at https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen

If you are able and would like to contribute, you can “pay it forward” by getting yourself some swag from The Chosen gift shop or via direct donations.

(Note: I am not affiliated with the show or its creators in any way, just a regular ole’ fan impressed by their storytelling skills and interested in studying it to learn more!)

What’s Happened So Far

In the last episode, a newly demon-free Mary Magdalene was preparing for her first Shabbat in years.

Meanwhile, word had gotten to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, that the woman he tried to exorcise had been completely healed.

He went to see with his own eyes only to be told that he had nothing to do with it. Mary had been delivered by a mysterious man whose name she did not know.

That man (Jesus) later showed up at her Sabbath dinner, joining two of his disciples and two other friends of Mary’s.

As Mary officiated her Sabbath meal, other Jews in the area were doing the same, sitting down to eat with their families — all except for Matthew, the tax collector, who had been disowned by his family.

Instead, Matthew ate his dinner on the ground, with just a stray dog for company.

And so episode begins 3 …

Episode Summary

This is one of the shorter episodes in the season, beginning with Jesus praying at night to his Father.

His voice is strained and tearful, and he is obviously stressed when he pleads in prayer, as a haunting woman’s voice sings in a minor mode in the background. (This part is not part of what’s happening in the story, of course, it’s background music for effect)

“Father, speak through me”

And we begin the fish song:

What exact shade of blue is that? Aqua? Teal?

It’s morning in Capernaum in 26 AD, and a little girl (Abigail) runs out of her house, yelling behind her: “I’ll be by the stream!”

Mom: “Do not swim!” Abigail: “I won’t!”

Abigail skips and runs through the grass, then pauses as she sees a camp in the middle of the wilderness.

Nice to have these title thingys here so we know when everything’s taking place!

The curious girl approaches the camp with the still-smoldering fire and plays with some of the tools that have been left behind.

Abigail also sees some food and considers eating it, but then refrains. She hears a man humming, and runs to hide behind a pile of rocks.

Don’t try this at home, kids

Jesus appears on screen with a pack. He pauses his humming and looks up. When Abigail realizes she’s been spotted, she gasps and runs away.

Next, we see Jesus starting a fire the old-fashioned way (rubbing a stick really fast and transferring the heat to a bundle of straw to blow on until it alights)

Jesus the camping expert

He also makes himself dinner via campfire and a makeshift cutting board.

Not far away, Abigail is eating dinner with her parents. Abigail’s mom tells her dad about Joanna, a friend whose husband has been injured and cannot work. Abigail’s mom asks her dad to stop by to help, and he reluctantly agrees.

When Mom asks Abigail how her day was, Abigail asks if she can play with her friend Joshua by the stream tomorrow. Mom says okay, once chores are done.

Mom reminds Abigail: “No swimming!”

Jesus adds wood to his fire, washes his feet, and prepares for bed.

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, king of the universe, who brings sleep to our eyes.”

The next day, Abigail and her friend Joshua are marching through the field as Abigail tells him everything she saw and did the day before.

“I don’t think He’ll kill us, and He seemed nice…do you have a sword, just in case?”

They see Jesus eating his breakfast. Jesus prays aloud, “Blessed are you God…” but after a pause, in which he notices the presence of the children, he adds a little something to his prayer:

“And I pray, if there are ever two children who come visit my home here, that you will give them the courage to say shalom, so that they will know they do not have to remain in hiding. Amen.”

As Abigail and Joshua argue about whether to stay or go, Jesus makes funny noises that make the children giggle.

“What’s that sound?” Jesus says. “Sheep don’t sound like that…maybe a rooster?”

Abigail stands up and Jesus tells her she was wise to bring a friend this time. He reassures them that he is not a bad man, and invites them to stay for a bit if they like.

Jesus gives Abigail something to eat, and as she stuffs her face, she starts asking him a litany of questions:

“Where are you from?…What is that wood for?…Are you a carpenter?…Why don’t you live in a house?…How do you make money?”

Jesus answers all of Abigail’s questions but Joshua still seems uncomfortable and hangs back quietly. Jesus tells the children that he builds things to sell to make his living, such as toys for rich people’s children. Abigail tells him her family is not rich, and then shows him her homemade doll, Sarah.

Food eaten and questions asked, Abigail announces it’s time to go home, and scampers off with Joshua as Jesus chuckles.

Later on, Jesus prepares for another night by campfire and says his bedtime prayers:

“Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe…”

The next morning Jesus is awakened from his slumber by a small crowd of children peering into his tent:

-”Just leave him alone!” -“Is he dead?” -“Shh!”

“Couldn’t have waited half an hour, eh?” Jesus says as Abigail introduces him to “her other friends and Joshua again.”

“Shalom, Abigail’s friends, and Joshua again,” Jesus says.

The kids ask if they can stay, and Jesus invites them to help him. But first, tooth brushing time:

So that’s how they did it before Colgate and electric toothbrushes.

“You seem nice. Are you dangerous?” says a cute little girl with a high voice.

“Maybe to some,” Jesus says. “But no, not to you.”

She follows up with: “Do you have friends?”

“A few, and more to come,” Jesus answers.

The kids work on wood projects with Jesus as they chat. The children ask Jesus various questions until he asks them if they all know the Shema.*

At which the kids start reciting:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might…
— Deuteronomy 6:4+

As he listens, Jesus mouths the words along and appears to get a little emotional…

From the mouths of babes (That idiom is from another Bible verse, by the way: Psalm 8:2)

“Beautiful, very good.” He tells them. And the kids’ questions begin again.

Jesus tells them he has a bigger job than just his trade. He tells the children to love each other, to share God’s word, honor their parents, and love God.

As the kids walk home, they discuss amongst themselves who the strange man in the camp might be:

-“Maybe he’s a murderer?” -“He is NOT!”

Abigail ends the conversation by making the other kids agree not to tell anyone about him.

Then there is a montage over several days of Jesus walking along and chatting with the children, telling them stories around a campfire, and teaching them the Lord’s Prayer and another Bible verse song, as a bass plays in the background with some other twangy stringed instruments and women vocalizing.

This is the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
— Matthew 6:9–13

And the song Jesus sings with the kids is based on this verse:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
— Psalm 133:1

Who wants Jesus to tell them stories around a campfire? Raise your hands!

The kids tell Jesus that their Rabbi Josiah taught them the Messiah would be a great military leader. But Jesus says, “many times, smart men lack wisdom,” pointing out that the Scriptures don’t actually say the Messiah will be a “great military leader.”*

He reminds them that though justice is good, the Bible says:

It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
— Deuteronomy 32:35

So, let God take care of justice.

The kids ask where Jesus was the day before, and he refers to “a woman who has much pain in her life.” She was in trouble, so Jesus helped her.

“Is she your friend?” asks a little boy.

“She is now,” Jesus says, and tells them that he’s planning to invite others to go traveling with him.

The kids ask him why he is here, and he tells them to hold on to their childlike faith and one day they will understand. Then he recites Isaiah, which the kids recognize:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…
— Isaiah 61:1–2

Jesus expresses his wish that his next students will be like this crowd of children — asking questions and telling others about Him.

The kids walk home in silence, and Jesus spends the night working on wood projects.

What is he making? Watch and see

The next morning, Abigail runs to Jesus’ camp only to see that he has gone. She sees a wooden house with miniature horses and a ladder, plus a note Jesus has left for her:

“Abigail, I know you can read. You are very special. This is for you. I did not come only for the wealthy.”

Abigail with her new gift

And Abigail begins to play with the present Jesus left her.


*Background Context

Okay, for our background context, let’s take a look at a few quotes and concepts from this episode:

The Shema

The Shema is one of the most famous Jewish prayers, which children of observant Jews back then and now would be expected to know by heart. It’s called the “Shema” because of the first line: “Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ehad” which means “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One!”

The text of the Shema comes from Deuteronomy 6.

Jesus as a carpenter

In the Bible, Jesus was described as a craftsman, actually — not specifically a carpenter, as tradition has it.

The original word describing his occupation, tekton, means something more along the lines of craftsman or builder. So that could include carpentry, but also stonemasonry.

To read more about it, you can take a gander at this article:

“Great military leader”

In one scene, Jesus tells the children that the Torah (The Old Testament part of the Bible/Scriptures) doesn’t mention that the Messiah will be a great military leader.

To be more accurate, the Bible does mention that the Messiah will be a conquering leader in passages like Psalm 2:7–12

7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

But of course elsewhere the Bible indicates that the Messiah will lay His life down for the people:

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
— Isaiah 53:2–6

So how do you reconcile these two different descriptions? What I’ve heard is that the “lay down his life” part in Isaiah refers to Jesus’ first appearance on earth, as recorded in the Gospels, and the “conquering king” passage from Psalms refers to Jesus’ second coming and the end of the world.

Does that mean “great military leader”? Depends on how you look at it, I guess. But I just wanted to clear up that point in the scene.

I’m no theologian, just passing on what I’ve heard. Highly encourage you to read the full text in context yourself, and draw your own conclusions.

Thoughts on Storytelling, Writing, Etc.

I don’t have too many craft-related thoughts related to this particular story, because this was a short, straightforward episode. Some might even say a bit of a filler episode, like episode 1, a setup for future events.

Eye of the Storm

This episode was a nice break from the drama and intrigue of the last episode. It’s lovely to see Jesus befriending a group of local children, and to see him teach them, tell them stories, and just hang out with them.

The pacing was slow, perhaps, but it does show Jesus’ personality, and sets up two of the main kid characters, Abigail and Joshua, to come back for a minor role in a later episode.

Plus, I found it cute that Jesus prays the Lord’s Prayer with the kids before officially teaching it to his disciples. Who knows? It may have happened that way in real life.

A Standout Line

There was one line Jesus said to the kids that stood out to me: “Many times, smart men lack wisdom.”

I’ve been thinking about that lately, the difference between intelligence and wisdom, between popularity and goodness. There’s a verse in the New Testament that goes:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
— 1 Corinthians 1:27

And that’s a big theme in Jesus’ story — how it’s the most unassuming, unpredictable, overlooked people and things that make the biggest impact.

Final Note:

I am pretty sure Abigail’s mother is the hair dresser (Mara) who invited Mary to braid hair and pick flowers in the previous episode. And her conversation with her husband over dinner shows that she is a talkative, but kindhearted woman.

Smart of the show writers to flesh out the stories of even minor characters in the narrative!

Reminder

Watch The Chosen for free on their website, or download the (also free) app at: https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen


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