“Blessed are the meek” is not the stuff TV season finale cliff-hangers are usually made of.
Tragic accidents, impossible scenarios, relationships hanging by a thread, shocking disclosures, and heartbreaking discoveries are the kind of scenes usually employed to entice viewers to return when the next season begins.
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But fans of The Chosen have learned to “get used to different” – to quote the words of the show’s Jesus himself.
So different it is, with viewers filled with anticipation as Jesus steps out to preach his Sermon on the Mount in the final scene of Season Two.
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Forget the tragic accidents and shocking disclosures: Jesus’ public ministry is underway, and viewers are desperate to see what happens next – which is no small feat, given that this plotline is well known to most of us!
Season Two finale – spoiler alert if you haven’t finished watching the season yet!
Earlier in the episode, viewers have seen Jesus, played by actor Jonathan Roumie, wrestle with his sermon preparation for days on end.
In one scene, after he’s been awake all night, Jesus wakes Matthew in the early morning hours. He tells him he has finally found the words he wants to preach in the sermon’s opening. It will be a map, Jesus tells Matthew, providing directions “where people should look to find me”.
Jesus says each beatitude, and Matthew writes it down. As he does, key scenes from the first two seasons flash on screen.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus says, and we flashback to Nathaniel, seated under the tree in anguish.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” he says – as we see Simon hugging a distraught Andrew, who has just learned of John the Baptist’s imprisonment.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” – James of Alphaeus (“little James”) and Thaddeus, in fireside conversation.
Viewers are made aware that these aren’t mere platitudes. These are words for real people to live by. And if these words are a map, then Jesus’ disciples – his chosen ones – will also play a part in people finding him.
In the final scene, Jesus walks toward the ‘stage’ past each of his disciples, as James and John flank him, a step behind.
The footage is slowed just enough to let the camera focus on each character individually, allowing the viewer a glimpse through Jesus’ eyes. Their faces are encouraging and proud. They are aware of the gravity of the moment, even if they don’t completely grasp it.
The camera rests first on Mary Magdalene and then on Matthew.
A quick shot of Judas Iscariot shocks us. He has arrived and introduced himself to the other disciples only moments earlier, but the episode’s pace hasn’t allowed viewers to dwell on the implications.
For a fleeting moment, we remember that we actually know how this story ends. How will this band of brothers and sisters bear it, we wonder? How will we?
The camera moves on with Jesus’ gaze, and so do we. Simon and his wife Eden, Thaddeus, James of Alphaeus (“little James”), Nathaniel, Philip, Ramah and Tamar, Thomas, Simon the Zealot, Andrew, and Jesus’ mother, Mary.
The music swells, and Jesus steps through a curtain to the waiting crowd. He is like a rockstar stepping onto the stage at Woodstock – except this crowd is sober, and the kind of free love he is offering will change the course of history.
It’s time. In seconds, Jesus will begin to declare the manifesto that is his Sermon on the Mount. Season Two is done.
The result is a triumphant season finale in which all the elements of great TV – writing, acting, directing, cinematography, editing and score – serve to galvanise viewers’ commitment to the story.
So what happens next?
First – the small issue of funding
Well, first, the funds needed to produce Season Three have to be raised.
That’s because, unlike other hit TV series, The Chosen is available to view for free via an app. So it is viewers choosing to “pay it forward” who contribute to funding future seasons. In addition, profits from The Chosen‘s DVD of Season One sales, study guides, other merchandise also go towards Season Three.
At the time of writing, $1,507,156 of $2,250,000 needed for Season Three of The Chosen have been raised. This means that, so far, episodes one to five are fully funded, 67 per cent of the funds needed for episode six have been raised, and two more episodes need to be funded.
But while this sounds like a nerve-racking situation for the show’s producers, cast and crew, writer and director Dallas Jenkins is confident that God has it in hand. In fact, as Eternity recently reported, Jenkins has a conviction that his job is to bring the “five loaves and two fish” and to trust God with the rest.
And once the funds are raised? A sneak peek at Season Three
With fundraising well underway, we asked Dallas Jenkins if he would give Eternity readers a sneak peek of what viewers can expect in The Chosen Season Three.
“So, Season One is about the gathering of some of the early disciples and being introduced to some of their struggles and their pain before they meet Jesus,” Jenkins recapped.
“Season Two is the growing fame. You start to see how his name is starting to spread. And so the good news about Season Two is [that] more people are coming to be healed and to be redeemed.”
In addition, of course, Jenkins notes that Season Two sees more of the disciples are coming into the group.
“But then, there’s also some enemies that are on the rise,” he says. “And then Season Three, which we’re writing right now.”
So what does that look like?
Jenkins reveals that Season Three will show how Jesus’ rising fame begins to really upset people.
“Now that the crowds are following him, the crowds are coming to Capernaum, where Jesus and some of the disciples are living, and that’s starting to really upset the social and governmental construct,” he explains.
“The Romans are now starting to get involved and starting to say, ‘Alright, this is starting to get a little bit out of hand’. The Pharisees are getting even more upset.”
And what about the lives of the disciples?
“The disciples continue to struggle with what it looks like to devote their lives to Jesus,” says Jenkins.
For example, he says that a lot of time in Season Three will focus on Simon and Eden’s marriage and the highs and lows that they experience.
“So we really dig into what it looks like as we head towards some issues that are, of course, coming down the road,” Jenkins says.
Excitingly, Jenkins says the coming season will also see the disciples “go out” and begin ministering themselves.
“In the gospels it says the disciples go out two by two, and they start joining in on the ministry and healing people and casting out demons,” he says, and the show will explore the effect that has on them.
“And then, of course, we’ve got some of the big famous stories and miracles that we’ll slip in there as well,” he adds .
“But yeah, it’s just more of ‘This is growing!’ This is getting bigger now; everyone knows about it now. They’re coming to hear more, and it doesn’t make everybody happy.”