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The Chosen review: The good shepherd

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The good shepherd - The Catholic weekly
Simon the Zealot and Simon Peter guard Jesus as tensions rise between them and the religious leaders at the temple. Photo: thechosen.tv

In the last few episodes of The Chosen, there was a particular focus placed on knowing Christ intimately, through his words and teachings, before taking action. 

Jesus instructs his followers that regardless of the dangers that surround them, they must be guided by his voice—lest they be led astray by their own fallibility.  

Though episode six acts as more of a filler or “bottle episode,” adding no new information to the plotline or characters, it does flesh out the theme of Jesus as the good shepherd through the interactions between the disciples, as they celebrate Hanukkah. 

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The story utilises the eight days of celebration to show how close the disciples have become, as they laugh, sing and pray together like a family. 

This focus deepens the audience’s emotional concern for the characters and gives authenticity to their familial bond, through their exchanging of thoughtful gifts, attentiveness to each other’s struggles and appreciation for each other’s unique skills.  

These moments bring to life Christ’s words, “I know mine and mine know me.” They give a grounded perspective on his teaching good shepherd which he gives towards the end of the episode. 

Annoyed with the group’s lack of creativity and contentment with menial labour during this time, Judas proposes they take up a collection to reduce the strain on the ministry. His idea is quickly knocked back. 

Judas’ development in this episode shows what can happen when one favours his own voice to that of the Lord’s, confusing his own ambition with the advancement of the kingdom and falling prey to the powers of this world. 

Although his obsession leads him to deceive Matthew on the group’s finances, those in active ministry will empathise with Judas as he questions why the Lord doesn’t want him to be creative, to think critically and to use the gifts God gave to serve him. 

A subplot involving Zebedee sets Judas’ complaints in relief; while Zebedee’s olive oil business gives back to the community and to the worship of God, Judas’ schemes only seem to take from them. 

As the group arrive at the temple, Jesus directs his message to not only his followers but to the Pharisees who encircle them.  

Here we see his teaching visually unfold as Judas’ inattentiveness to Christ’s words lead him to become distracted and agitated by the angry mob. 

Jesus insistence that he is the messiah causes the religious leaders to begin throwing stones, striking Big James and forcing the disciples to flee across the river back to their lodging. 

Amidst the chaos and trauma of what had just transpired, Jesus receives a letter announcing the death of his friend Lazarus. 

Jesus tells his disciples that they must go to Judea and awaken their sleeping brother. 

Despite their concern for the dangers that await them, the disciples listen to Christ’s voice and follow him. 

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