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The Chosen review: The ways of heaven and earth

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the chosen review - The Catholic weekly
Jesus and Judas speak on the journey to Jerusalem. Photo: thechosen.tv

Reunited with his mother in Bethany, a frustrated Jesus shares with her his concern for his followers who continue to ask for “earthly things” and react in a worldly way despite being exposed daily to his teachings. 

He wrestles with the feeling that no one is capable of understanding the heavenly kingdom as religious leaders plot against him for speaking God’s word, and disciples take offence at his graciousness towards the unjust. 

This exchange, which takes place towards the end of The Chosen’s fifth episode, sums up the episode’s primary theme: the contrast between the purpose and practices of the earthly and heavenly kingdoms. 

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Those who understand this difference seem to find true joy amidst adversity, while those who don’t fall into anger and bitterness. 

On the road to Bethany, a cohort of Roman soldiers force Jesus and his followers to carry their armour and baggage for one mile as permitted by the Roman “Law of Impressment.” 

Though all are humiliated and upset at first, some like Little James and Matthew soon realise Jesus’ teaching in their struggle and become unburdened, almost joyful, in the process. 

Even the Roman soldiers have a change of heart as Jesus’ insistence that his followers “go the extra mile” radically proclaims the Heavenly Kingdom’s call to humility and service. 

For Judas, the Romans’ humiliation of the Messiah was as intolerable as the Messiah’s reluctance to rebuke them for it.  

Judas’ desire was for the Messiah to work the earthly salvation of his people, paralleling the Sadducees’ debate with the Pharisees in the temple—and only earthly acts would bring it to fruition. 

During this episode we see the story of Mary and Martha play out as Jesus and his followers stay there before their journey into Jerusalem. 

Like Little James, Mary finds joy in taking the word of the Lord into her heart, oblivious to the burdens and constraints of the physical world. 

Martha sees her disregard of Jesus’ earthly needs as disrespectful to the Messiah, as she busies herself in preparing food and drink. 

Instead of joy, Martha’s frustrations turn into bitterness as she asks Jesus to rebuke Mary for her lack of help and hospitality. 

Jesus encourages Martha to let his words of everlasting life be her chief focus and priority, even if it comes at the cost of pragmatic concerns.  

A lesson that Christ attempts to teach Judas multiple times, yet one that falls on deaf ears, as Judas begins to take worldly matters into his own hands, foreshadowing later and greater sins. 

Episode 5 of The Chosen Season 4 can be watched via The Chosen App or here.

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