The Chosen, Season 1, Ep 5: “The Wedding Gift”
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.
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 entire show FOR FREE at https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen
(Note: I am not affiliated with the show or its creators in any way, I’m 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, we saw Jesus call four more disciples: Simon, Andrew, James, and John.
Prior to being called, Simon was at the nadir of his existence: hounded by the Romans to either turn in his friends or pay off his insurmountable debt, Simon desperately tries to catch something that night to earn money.
But even with Andrew, James, John, and Zebedee’s help, Simon turns up nothing.
Just as Simon’s ready to turn himself in to Matthew, the tax collector who’s been ordered to spy on him, Jesus shows up and tells him and Andrew to throw their nets out one last time, resulting in a miraculous catch of fish.
“From now on, you will be fishers of men,” Jesus tells his new disciples as they walk off into the sunset (or something like that).
And cue episode 5:
A younger Mother Mary is running through Jerusalem, desperately searching for Jesus, whom she’s lost three days ago in the chaos and clamor of Passover* travel.
Joseph and Jesus appear, and tell Mary Jesus had been in the Temple, talking to the scribes and Pharisees.
“It’s too early for…this,” Mary says, as she sees the Temple looming in the background.
But Jesus puts a hand on her shoulder and asks, “If not now, when?”
Mary looks to Joseph, then to her son. “Just help us get through this with you, please.”
As the family gets back on the road, Joseph says: “Jesus, please don’t do that again, huh?”
“Yes, Abba*,” Jesus replies.
Maybe, Joseph adds, he’ll have Jesus rub Mary’s feet in return for all the worry he’s put her through.
“Abba!” Jesus says, laughingly.
The violins shiver, and we know what that means:
IT’S FISH SONG TIME!
We’re in Cana now, AD 26, and a woman steps outside of her house, smiling.
A voice calls out, “Dinah!” and the woman greets her happily: “Mary! What are you doing here…so early?”
The Mary she is speaking to is Mary, mother of Jesus. Mary replies to Dinah’s question with: “I came here to help!… When your best friend is the mother of the groom, you’ll be early for the feast too.”
Now we transition to a shadowy jail cell, in which Nicodemus attempts to question John the Baptizer, who is not giving him an easy time of it:
Nicodemus tells John of a miracle he cannot comprehend. He is searching for an explanation for something he cannot unsee.
“Tell me from the beginning,” John says.
In the next scene, Eden is trampling out grapes for wine by foot when Simon comes in to tell her that he’s decided to give up his fisherman’s life to follow Jesus, after the miraculous events of that morning (see episode 4).
Eden turns her head away and Simon says, “I know it makes no sense, I knew it would make you upset,” but Eden cuts him off:
“Upset? Why would I be upset?” She turns back, smiles through her tears and tells Simon to come here. “This is the man I married,” she says, looking into his eyes.
“And you believe it?” Simon whispers.
Eden laughs. “You couldn’t make this up.”
“It’s not going to be easy,” Simon warns.
“When have we ever had anything easy?” Eden replies. “That’s not our people’s way.”
Then she invites Simon to wash his feet and join her in the winepress. Simon tells her Jesus and his disciples will be leaving for a wedding in Cana that day. The couple reminisces about their own wedding day, smiling and laughing.
Now it’s time to introduce some new characters:
A red-turbaned woman (Ramah) and man sporting a striped coat (Thomas) load a cart and argue about how many jars of wine they need to take with them to Cana.
Thomas is the caterer, Ramah the daughter of the vintner, and they’ve been hired to wine and dine the guests for the coming wedding.
Thomas thinks they need to bring four jars of wine, but Ramah says the family could only afford three.
“I would have paid you out of my own pocket [for the fourth jar]!” Thomas protests.
“Thomas, that would almost erase your whole margin, why would you do that?” Ramah shakes her head at him. Thomas stutters a reply:
Back in Cana, Mary and Dinah and friends are putting the final touches on decorating the courtyard for the wedding.
Mary asks what Dinah’s new daughter-in-law is like, and Dinah gushes about her son’s bride, Sarah. But she’s less excited about Sarah’s parents, Abner and Helah, who aren’t pleased that Dinah and her husband Rafi are not wealthy.
“You don’t have to grovel to anyone, Dinah,” Mary admonishes her. “They’ll come around.”
Next we see Simon and Andrew walking to join Jesus and the other disciples. The brothers are anxious about what to do, whether or not they should’ve brought lunches, and a myriad other things.
“Perfect day for a wedding, huh?” Jesus says as he shows up and greets each disciple by name.
They figure out that the group includes two Jameses and decide to call one Big James, and the other Young James.
Back to Cana, where Mary and Dinah are looking at a huppah frame that is clearly crooked. Mary wants to fix it, but Dinah says “we got what we paid for,” and wants to let it go.
Just then, Helah arrives and greets Dinah, then tries to finagle better seating arrangements, but Dinah says the seating arrangements have been assigned already. The two women get into a little tiff, and Helah points out that the huppah is crooked.
Meanwhile, Simon asks Jesus who will be at this wedding in Cana. Jesus tells him the most important and powerful person will be there: Jesus’ mother.
Simon asks Jesus if he plans to announce his Messianic plans at the wedding, but Jesus says it’s not his special day — it’s Asher and Sarah’s.
“Do they know what a remarkable thing it is [to have you at their wedding]?” Andrew asks.
“Well, considering I was the clumsy teenager who cracked his head open at Asher’s when he was a child, I don’t think he finds me remarkable,” Jesus says.
Jesus then asks: “Did you think much of your childhood friends?”
Simon butts in: “Nah, he didn’t have any.”
Andrew: “That’s not true!”
Simon: “I stand corrected, he had me. Compulsory service.”
As the boys start to really get into their argument, Jesus says, “Mary, did you think having brothers would be like this?”
“I always wanted brothers as a little girl,” she replies.
“Soon you’ll have twelve, then tell me how you like it,” Jesus says.
“Twelve?” Andrew repeats.
“You’ll see,” Jesus says.
Mary and Dinah are still decorating the huppah as Mary tells Dinah “Well, we had a wedding, it just wasn’t like everybody else’s.”
“Why not?” Dinah asks.
“You know why,” Mary says, making a bump over her stomach with her hand. Then: “If Joseph were here, he’d be so proud of you and Rafi.” (Which is our indication that her husband Joseph has passed away)
Mary warns Dinah that Jesus may bring a few others. “He can bring anyone he wants!” Dinah says cheerfully.
Just then, they’re interrupted by Rafi, who says the caterers have arrived.
Ramah and Thomas appear, bearing wine samples.
Next, Jesus appears and gives his mom a big hug. When he puts her down, she greets his disciples and introduces herself.
Back in the jail, Nicodemus has finished telling John about Mary’s demon deliverance story. John starts breathing excitedly: “It has begun! If he is healing in secret now, the public signs cannot be far off!”
“You know him?” Nicodemus says, standing up.
“You could say that.”
“What’s his name?”
John quotes Psalms:
Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
Surely you know!
— Proverbs 30:4
They end the quote together: “What is His name and what is the name of His son?”
Nicodemus says John is speaking blasphemy — God has no son but Israel, he claims.
“Suit yourself,” John replies.
Back at the wedding, Thomas is telling the servants where to set out the food as the guests hold hands and dance around their tables.
Ramah busts into the catering room, calling for Thomas: Big problem — they have run out of wine.
They’d prepared for 40 people, but there are 80-some guests at the wedding.
Outside, the people lift up their cups as the Master of Banquets toasts God: “Blessed are you, king of the universe, who brings forth the fruit of the vine.”
As the celebration continues, Thomas is coaching the servants on what to do to make the wine last:
Helah and Abner come to congratulate Rafi and Dinah on the party. “I don’t mean to insult,” Abner says, as he mentions how Rafi’s trade hasn’t brought him much success.
As the bride’s parents leave, Abner comments to Helah: “I thought you said this was crooked. Looks fine to me…and this wine is delicious!” he throws the last part back at Rafi and Dinah.
Back in the catering room, Thomas and Ramah discuss the possibility of diluting the wine. If people found out, the caterers’ reputation and that of the groom’s family could be ruined.
Then we have several montages of the wedding guests as the sun goes down. People are drinking, dancing. Musicians are playing, as it gets dark, servants light candles.
And we see Jesus at a table playing hide-under-cups games with the children.
Off to the side, the disciples watch Jesus with the children, and Simon says “They have no idea who sits before them.”
The children giggle with Jesus while Mary comments, “I think we are the lucky ones. They have to go home with their parents tonight. We get to stay with him.”
The disciples start swapping stories, and Mary asks Thaddeus how he met Jesus. “On a construction job in Bethseda,” Thaddeus says. Before following Jesus, he had been a stonemason.
What were you making? Simon asks.
A public utility, Thaddeus replies.
An aqueduct? Simon guesses.
An uncomfortable Thaddeus says, “No, something…humbler. It’s not proper to say in front of women.”
“I have seen and heard things that would turn your blood to ice,” Mary says, just as Simon guesses correctly:
“A latrine?!…We better not spread that around.” 😀
Meanwhile, Dinah senses something is wrong, and confronts Thomas in the catering room:
Outside, Simon teases Andrew about his dancing in front of Jesus. Mary interrupts: “My son! They’ve run out of wine.”
“But it’s only the first day,” Andrew points out.
“Yes, and it’s all gone. Not a drop left.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Jesus asks.
We can’t let Asher’s family be humiliated like this, Mary says. Jesus sends the disciples away and tells his mother: “My time has not yet come.”
But Mary begs him to do something. “If not now, when?” She uses the same words Jesus said to her 20+ years ago in Jerusalem (remember the prologue scene?)
Mary can see in Jesus’ eyes that he will agree to what she asks and she hurries to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you!”
Back in the catering room, Jesus points to stone water jars and tells Thomas and Ramah: “Fill these jars with water.”
Thomas protests: “I’m not sure you heard her clearly, but we ran out of wine, not water.” But Ramah immediately gets the other servants to do as Jesus asks.
Jesus doesn’t rebuke Thomas for his doubt. “It is good to ask questions, to seek understanding.”
He adds: “I know a man like you in Capernaum — always counting, always measuring.” (WHO COULD HE BE TALKING ABOUT? I wonder, I wonder… ;D)
As the servants hurry to get the water, Jesus invites Thomas to join him “and I will show you a new way to count and measure — a different way of seeing time.”
“Go with you where? I don’t understand.”
“Keep watching,” Jesus says.
Meanwhile, the guests are starting to get impatient for wine.
Mary asks Thaddeus about his career background. Thaddeus said his father was a smith, and it broke his heart when Thaddeus changed careers.
As Thaddeus explains to Mary the permanent nature of stonecutting in a voiceover, we see Jesus ask everyone to step outside the room as he prays over the jars of water.
“I’m ready, Father,” Jesus says, and dips his hand into the water jar, which comes out dripping red wine.
“Go draw some out and serve it to the master of the banquet,” Jesus tells the caterers.
When the master of the banquet gets the wine he is so impressed by its quality, he stops everyone to make an announcement:
And what he says next is almost word for word from the Bible record of this event:
“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
— John 2:10
And as the father of the bride, Abner, drinks the wine, he stops. “Is something wrong?” his wife asks.
“Yes,” he replies. “I was.”
Back with the other guests, Jesus and Simon join together to tease Andrew about his feet, and pretty soon the disciples are all back up and dancing again.
“Can you help him?” Simon asks Jesus, referring to Andrew’s dancing problems.
“Some things even I cannot do,” Jesus jokes.
The camera shifts to Ramah and Thomas, who are standing by, stunned.
Thomas tells Ramah that Jesus has invited him to join the disciples in Samaria in 12 days. Samaria? Ramah repeats.
“I don’t know what to think,” Thomas says.
“So don’t,” Ramah says. “Maybe for once in your life, don’t think.”
The sounds fade away, and end credits roll.
Ooookay, for our background context, let’s take a look at a few quotes and concepts from this episode:
The Passover is an important Jewish holiday that commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
In the famous story, Moses confronts Pharaoh on God’s command and asks Pharaoh to let the Jewish slaves go. Pharaoh refuses, and God sends ten plagues on the Egyptians, each one worse than the one before, with the final plague culminating in the death of the firstborn of all the Egyptians.
But the Jews and anyone who painted blood on their doorposts on that fateful night were able to save their firstborns from being killed. The angel of death passed over the houses of all of those who obeyed God’s command to paint the doorposts, and that’s why the annual holiday is called the Passover.
There’s a WHOLE lot more to this Passover thing, of course — special foods to eat, special traditions and meanings. You could spend a long time studying the whole thing. But one thing I’ll say: Jesus was known as the “Lamb of God,” and one reason why was because during the Passover, people sacrificed lambs (remember the whole blood-on-the-doorposts thing? That was lamb’s blood).
So (spoiler alert) there’s a reason why Jesus was called the Lamb of God, and also why he died — *drumroll, please* — during The Passover.
Like I said. Full of meaning, this Jewish holiday.
Anyway. During the Passover in ancient Israel, the Jews who could were expected to make a trip to Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday. Depending on where they lived, this trip could take days.
And travel back then was not as easy as it is today. Most of the people went on foot, in large groups. Which is one reason why Mary and Joseph lost track of young Jesus when he was a kid. It’s easier to lose a kid in a crowd than you think 😉
If you’re not familiar with the history of the Passover, check out the book of Exodus in the Bible, or look up the animated musical Prince of Egypt (the movie isn’t historically accurate, but it’s a fun way to get an idea of what the first Passover might have been like)
The Jewish name for “Daddy.” Jesus has two Abbas — his human father, Joseph, and his Heavenly Father/God the Father.
Also spelled “chuppah,” this is basically a decorated canopy used at Jewish weddings. The bride and groom stand underneath it during the ceremony.
Weddings: “But it’s only the first day!”
Back in the day, Jewish weddings could last up to a week, basically nonstop. It was a giant community affair, and in that honor-shame culture, hospitality was a big deal, which is why running out of wine on the first day of the festivities would have looked really bad on the family, and perhaps even influence the community’s view of the couple.
We see Eden trampling grapes by foot. Wine was integral at weddings back then just as it is now. Wine is also a common metaphor Jesus uses in many of his teachings as recorded in the Bible.
Thoughts on Storytelling, Writing, Etc.
Awkward Thomas, immediately obvious he has a crush on Ramah. Thomas is clearly a worrier, likes to plan and prepare in advance.
A Jesus who hurts, and can be clumsy: “Well, considering I was the clumsy teenager who cracked my head open at Asher’s when he was a child, I don’t think he finds me remarkable,” Jesus says.
The Disciples as a Group
I LOVE the disciples’ banter. Simon and Andrew’s little arguments on the walk to Cana are so realistic.
And I’m so happy for Mary that she finally isn’t alone — she has a group of brothers, soon to be twelve, as Jesus says.
Filling in backstory for Thaddeus, the stonemason
More Circular Construction
Again, more circular construction, I love the way the pre-title-song scene, which usually comes from the old testament (although not in this case) correlates with the main story.
Here, the famous story about Mary and Joseph losing Jesus for three days after the Passover is linked to Jesus’ first public miracle at the Cana wedding. In both scenes, they use the line, “If not now, when?” First, it’s Jesus saying it to Mother Mary, then Mary saying it to Jesus, nearly thirty years later.
The duo/pair/foil: Andrew and Simon, James and John to a lesser degree, Thomas and Ramah…Young James and Thaddeus?
Thaddeus’ voiceover in the last scene has lots of meaning: Once Jesus does this wedding miracle, there is no turning back.
The master of banquet’s speech was a bit different from the Bible. In the original story, he pulls the bridegroom aside to tell him how pleased he is with the wine.
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