Heidi and I are part of a small group at our church. Our small group is currently involved in a study that includes the viewing of The Chosen. The Chosen is an American Christian historical drama series on the life and ministry of Jesus. The series centers on Jesus and the many people He encountered and interacted with. Filmmaker, Dallas Jenkins, is the creator, the director, and the co-writer.
In my humble opinion, the series is fabulous and is a great example of how film can elicit a whole new experience to a message and story that as a Christian, I thought I knew very well.
I highly recommend the series for your family (probably for kids 10 and older). Apparently, it is gaining a significant following and can be found on mainstream streaming services and on The Chosen‘s website.
An Intriguing Man
Our small group is early into the series (halfway through season one), but the first few episodes have taken an in-depth view into the life and mind of Nicodemus.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee that allowed his curiosity about this intriguing man from Galilee to eventually drive him to a meeting with Jesus after following Him from a far. For a Pharisee, this was outside of the rules and expectations and dangerous territory for sure.
And yet, he knew that Jesus was “a teacher from God” and instead of fighting and arguing with Jesus, he was willing to ask more questions… “How can this be?”
The way the series depicts Nicodemus is fascinating and I’m much more interested than when I previously read this particular Scripture in John 3. There is much more going on than a Pharisee who just has a few questions:
- There is a Jewish context in desperate desire of a Saviour to overthrow the imperialistic and smothering rule of the Romans.
- There is a strict order to which all leaders of the temple must adhere to.
- There is an external expectation that these leaders must behave above reproach.
- There is an internal tension/battle of power and control within the temple leadership at the time.
- There is even tension with individual family members of temple leaders that involves the pressure of power and control.
A Second Look
As I went back and read the Scripture again, I am convinced that Nicodemus needs a whole lot more credit!
What he did was enormous…and we don’t give him nearly the credit that he deserves. He was willing to cross a line that was virtually never crossed. What a true hero of faith!
- Who of us would be willing to allow our power, control, and influence to be lessened (and possibly even threatened) so that we can go to Jesus with our deep and burning questions?
- Who of us can be open to maybe not knowing and understanding the full extent of what we claim to be absolute?
- Who of us would open ourselves up to the critique of our colleagues and co-workers (those above and below in terms of power hierarchy)?
Since I haven’t watched the entire series, I can’t speak to how The Chosen chooses to depict Nicodemus after the crucifixion of Jesus (John 19 says that he assisted Joseph of Arimathea in the wrapping of Jesus’ body soon after Jesus had died), but I can’t wait to get to that part of the story/series and I really hope Dallas Jenkins chooses to include this small but significant part of the text in the series.
Here We Are
At ACS, we have experienced quite a year!
We are now in a season of celebrations for those who have reached amazing milestones in their lives (preschool graduations, grade 4 farewells, grade 8 celebrations, secondary commencement, staff retirements, and parents with their last child graduating).
We are also freshly removed from a society vote that leaves us as a broader school community in a state of disunity and discord—not something that any of us long for—and yet this is where we are. I am grateful to serve alongside board members who will continue to press into these challenges as we continue communicating regularly.
Personally, I pray for wisdom like Nicodemus, wisdom that allows for curiosity when I am confronted with something that is alternate to my current worldview. I pray for the ability to think critically and to live in the tension of not knowing. I pray for peace amidst the mystery and wonder. I pray for the Holy Spirit to do His work as I walk away asking, “How can this be?”
For more on this topic, watch Pastor Nathan Elgersma’s sermon about Nicodemus and the Holy Spirit: