Analysis: Jesus confronts the Pharisees in a new clip from The Chosen Season 4
A quick look at how the scene combines certain bits from Matthew and Luke's gospels, while leaving out some other bits.
We’ve seen a few clips from Season 4 of The Chosen in recent months—usually in the form of rough cuts that are shown at the tail end of livestreams, and are then deleted a day or two later.
We’ve seen Jesus reminisce with Thaddaeus and Little James about the early days of his ministry—when it was just the three of them hanging out together, before Mary Magdalene and the fisherman joined their cause—and we’ve seen Jesus chastise his disciples for competing with each other to see who is the greatest of them all.
Now we have what might be the first permanent clip from the upcoming season. On Christmas Day, the show’s YouTube channel posted a 104-second clip of Jesus arguing with a couple of Pharisees, and the clip was titled ‘See how this scene ends February 1st’—which is the theatrical release date for the first three episodes of Season 4.
You can watch the clip here:
This clip is based on a collection of sayings that appears in slightly different forms in Matthew 23 and Luke 11—and The Chosen, instead of simply picking one version of these sayings and running with it, takes bits and pieces from each version and creates its own version of these sayings, complete with new interpretive elements.
I thought it might be fun to tease all those elements apart. And so I will.
First, a couple of quick notes about the setting for this scene.
In the two gospels that relate these sayings, Jesus addresses different audiences:
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus has just spoken to a gathering of Pharisees (Matthew 22:41ff) and he is now speaking “to the crowds and to his disciples” (Matthew 23:1), warning them about the Pharisees and delivering a long string of “woe to you” statements aimed at the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus has just accepted an invitation to eat at a Pharisee’s house, and he starts to criticize the Pharisee to his face when the Pharisee notices that Jesus did not wash his hands before the meal (Luke 11:37-38).
On this point, The Chosen is closer to Matthew, because Jesus confronts the Pharisees publicly, in front of a crowd, and not in a private home.
Also, the two gospels place this story at different points in the timeline:
In Matthew’s gospel, this exchange takes place in Jerusalem during the last week of Jesus’ life before his arrest. (He arrived in Jerusalem in Matthew 21.)
In Luke’s gospel, this exchange takes place after Jesus sets out for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-53) but before he actually gets there (Luke 19:28ff).
On this point, The Chosen is closer to Luke, because this scene takes place in Season 4, at a point before Jesus goes to Jerusalem to be crucified in Season 6.1
And now, for a look at the actual dialogue, line by line.