The Chosen Review: Shabbat

How would you feel if the President of a country, whom you hold in high esteem pays you a visit uninvited? Especially when he passes by other houses and decides on your unspectacular house?

Sounds unbelievable?

That is exactly how Mary must have felt in Episode 2 of The Chosen when the doctor who healed her of her infirmity without collecting a dime showed up at her doorsteps for Sabbath. More important was the fact that she did not invite him, yet, He found her.

I want such an August visitor, who wouldn’t?


But just before Sabbath, we witness the events of the day in the lives of Mary, Nicodemus, Simeon Peter and Matthew. We observe as Matthew display a matchless level of courage before the Praetor of Judea, Quintus, from whom he went to confirm if Simon Peter and his brother’s taxes had indeed been waived by the Roman Officer as alleged by Peter in exchange for a job for the officer.

Read The Chosen’s S1 Ep1 Review

Matthew learnt that their taxes had been waived for a job which required Peter to spy on his brethren and bring names of those who worked on Sabbath and were tax evaders. An act considered as betrayal and greatly disapproved by his brother, Andrew.

In the same episode, Nicodemus to his uttermost dismay got information that Mary Magdalene upon whom he had earlier performed religious rites to deliver her from demonic possession, though unsuccessful, had been miraculously healed, a task which he had earlier deemed humanly impossible. He embarks on a quest to find out how this came to be.

They all seemed to have had a busy day but what was much more interesting about these characters was how they celebrated Sabbath.

One had so much friends all around for the events. Isn’t that what we all want? Another chose money above his family, the one who wanted to spend time with his family was not wanted by them while Mary had an august visitor! From all these, what can we learn?


So what makes Sabbath so different from every other day and how did these people prepare towards it?

How should we celebrate what we consider to be the “day of rest” in our society? Episode 2 offers us the requisite answers to these.

Download The Chosen App here to watch the series for free.

Watch Season One’s trailer here.

The Chosen Review: I HAVE CALLED YOU BY NAME

“You are mine.”

Those words cut dip into her soul as it escaped his lips. It has been over two decades with only memories of those soothing words of peace from a man, her father. Lilith (Elizabeth Tabish) wakes up with no knowledge of what she had done this time. She sees blood in her hands and realizes it has happened again. It is already daylight and she hears as her victim screams outside and accuses her of a crime she couldn’t remember.

On the other side of town is an old Jewish leader (Erick Avari) entering the streets of Galilee. He is stopped by some Roman soldiers. One would not easily forget the dry sense of humor mixed with sarcasm as Roman soldiers communicated with the religious leaders in the streets of Galilee such as “What could be under the water but never drown?” Such a question from a Roman soldier would mean another rise in taxes on the Jewish citizens or “teacher of teachers” and “our fire of fires” as would be a warning of an impending danger done by these Roman soldiers.

You could see the finesse in which Dallas Jenkins portrayed the uniqueness in each character, allowing the viewers see a part of them displayed in every next scene. One would attest to the reason for the name of this series, The Chosen.

I was quite impressed at how the series’ creator opened each scene with a new character and one is left with the curiosity as to how these new characters, although known from the Scriptures, were all going to meet.  I have been wary of movies that had series of episodes for a long time because of the shallow depth of some seasonal movies and the complexity with little or no message from some others.

However, the playwright did a good job portraying the behaviors of the pharisees at who lived at that time leaving viewers with lively memories which when not read consistently in the Scriptures, will otherwise be forgotten or ignored.

Nico, as fondly called by his wife, when faced with a strange problem in the Red Quarter, could be seen listing out the needed tools as one who had little or no practical knowledge as to solving this particular problem. He is left embarrassed in front of his students and his journey towards seeking for answers will begin as he is faced with a miracle that only God could perform.

One would not take off eyes from Peter (Shahar Isaac) as he exhibited different bright colors of a sanguine character. Is it his cunning way of escaping Roman taxes or his poor skills in gambling with his brother-in-law? One could tell why his brother was closer to the kingdom of heaven as he tries to dissuade Peter from a plan that would ruin their career and eventually, their lives.

I’m thrilled at this scene as Lilith is stopped in her tracks when he (Jesus) called her, “Mary” as she tried to flee from his grip.

This first episode The Chosen’s Season 1 is so rich as every second captivates the hearts of its viewers wanting for more than just a movie but an encounter with God.

Download The Chosen App here to watch the series for free.

Watch Season One’s trailer here.

THE CHOSEN: Retelling The Story of Jesus Christ

If you are a person who nitpicks your way through movies only going for those that you are sure would prove to be eternally and critically relevant, then we have something for you. This movie series is a Loaves and Fish production, co-produced and distributed by Angel Productions. In a time such as ours, when old movies and screenplays are being rewritten and reenacted using more contemporary equipment, time-honed skills and modern techniques, the great stories of the Bible are not left behind.

Meet The Chosen. The Chosen is a story of a man on a mission to tell his people about God in the face of Roman colonization. It is set in 20-30 AD Israel. The characters are familiar to those who may have read the Autoptic gospel of John or the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The slow storytelling and great acting make for a compelling story by Dallas Jenkins. The plot of The Chosen is non-fiction and based on the life of Jesus Christ. The series aims to showcase Christ “through the eyes of those who met him”.

For anyone who has seen any movie about the life of Christ while he was physically on Earth, the plot will prove enchanting and fully immersing.

The Chosen is a Vidangel adaptation of The Shepherd, a short film also created by Dallas Jenkins. The Chosen is a massively crowdfunded project. Infact, The Chosen is now the top crowdfunded filmed project, having raised over $16.2 million from 316,000 investors.

Yes, there are long moments and the progression is quite slow, but it all adds to the reverence with which Christ is portrayed in this record breaking screenplay. Dallas Jenkins has said that he wishes for the movie series to reach the eyes of a billion people, so it is safe to say that everyone is the target audience.

In a time of a full spectrum of intellectual and cultural perspectives, The Chosen appears to be the chosen Jesus’ story of our time.

Unlike other depictions of the life of Jesus, such as A.D., Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus, The Passion, Jesus: His Life; The Chosen comes away from the usual technique of following Jesus around as he delivers analogies, dissertations and life-changing miracles. The Chosen series also takes the dynamic perspective of portraying Jesus as a shared character in the lives and stories of characters like Matthew, Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, Andrew, John, James and others.



From wide shots of the choice locations, mid shots of threatening Roman soldiers and close shots of thoughtful Jews; the cinematography is quite engaging, coupled with a rural ambience and sounds that leave you “waking up” from each episode.

The Cast features Jonathan Roumie as Jesus, Paras Patel as Matthew, Shahar Isaac as Simon Peter, Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene, and Erick Avari as Nicodemus. The Cast is succinctly chosen and proves their mettle from episode to episode; and you can watch the other movies mentioned in this article for a sort of template for the characters. From December 24th 2017 till now, the Chosen has been distributed by Angel Studios.

All in all, The Chosen is a serious project and its impact is just beginning to be felt beyond the circles of cinema enthusiasts, internet explorers and critics.

With Season 2 airing its last episode in July, we are starting a new series of reviews on The Chosen’s season 1 episodes. We hope our perspective on the series’ storytelling will enjoin you to watch it and more importantly, read up The Synoptic Gospels for more understanding on the life of Jesus.

Download The Chosen App here to watch the series for free.

Watch Season One’s trailer here.

It was the happiest day of my life

It was the happiest day of my life when I allowed Jesus into my heart. My heart was flooded with joy and unspeakable peace. In Him I found a friend like no one else would ever be. Just like new lovers, I was always seen with Him; talking, praising, worshipping – I couldn’t get enough.

Day by day, he came. He entered the parlour, went into the dining room. Oh, the dining room! There were lots of breaking of bread. He opened my eyes to mysteries. I learned, relearned and unlearned. I just couldn’t get enough. Every minute with Him was priceless.

Until one day, an old friend came knocking. I peeped and asked what he wanted. “Just a few minutes, then I’ll be out of your hair,” he said. My heart told me not to, but his dazzling smile, pleading eyes, and obliging countenance were enough to compel me. He smiled and entered.

He was with me when Jesus came. I quickly hid him in a little room. Jesus came in, looked at me deeply, and asked. “Is there anything you would like to tell Me?”

“No.”

His countenance fell.

Our fellowship was not so sweet. But I bothered not, I was eager to conclude the story I was being told by my old friend.

When I was alone again, I ran. To the small room. Where he was. He invited me to a party the next day. I agreed.

The next day, I felt very awkward at the party. I missed Jesus. But I can’t bring Him here. This is not really His “thing”. As I was contemplating leaving, my old friend came and introduced me to his other friends. Little by little, I warmed up to them. I forgot the time.

When I got home, Jesus was waiting for me at the dining table. “It’s time for our breaking of bread,” He said. I dragged my feet to the table and half listened, half slept. Jesus suddenly stopped. 

“You were late today. Where did you go?” 

“Oh,” I said uneasily. “Out with some friends”.

“Can I come with you next time?”

“Oh no, never mind. It’s not your thing.” 

“So why would you go to a place I can’t go?” He queried.

“I can go wherever I please. I don’t need your permission. I’m done with today’s fellowship. Please let’s meet another time,” I said.

Jesus, my ever-gentle friend, did not argue. He picked up His scroll and left.

It broke my heart to see him go. But I was too proud to call Him back, to tell Him I was wrong.

The next day, I went late again. I dropped a note at the doorknob for Jesus. You can start without me. I will join you soon.

The next week, I dropped another message. Please, Jesus, can you not use the dining room? Some friends are coming over. The guest room is all yours.

On and on it went. I stopped bothering to check the guest room. I was so busy with my old friend and his friends. 

One day, while reveling with my friends, I remembered MY FRIEND. I asked for help, but none came. I dragged myself outside. My old friend came out and saw me. “There’s more for you here. The party’s just begun. Come and join us.”

Then I saw the loop: I was reveling in discontent, reveling in sadness, reveling in emptiness. I shook my head with a firm “NO” and trudged on home. 

The night was cold. The wind bit into my skin. I was tempted to go back but I soldiered on. Home. Jesus. Warmth. 

I got home. Looked in the guest room. Saw Him, with His oil lamp. Waiting for me. As always. He looked up at me. “You came today. Welcome.”

A tear slid down my cheek. I went to Him, knelt and sobbed. No words. “I am here for you, I love you,” He said

Like a lamp bursting forth, I broke down in tears. After an hour of reconciliation, I gave Him some keys.

“What are these for?”

“They are the keys to my home, my heart and everything I have. I surrender it all to you. I can’t control my life right. But you can. So, I surrender all.”

Jesus smiled His oh, so loving smile, touched my head and said.

“All is forgiven. You are free”.

I have never regretted that decision.

EMENIKE CHINWENDU VICTORIA

©2021

God trusts you!

Often when we teach trust to believers, we encourage them to trust God but what if the right way to look at it is from the angle that God trusts us – Me.

Because…

The act of loving itself is impossible without a measure of trust.

When I understand that God initiated the love relationship between Him and I, I also understand that it must mean He trusts me.

Throughout the Bible we see this concept proven over and over in every relationship God has with a man. Against all odds and through generations of unfaithfulness and inherent flaws, God continues to put his love on us, risking his trust being broken and trusting the good he saw in us when he first created our kind at Eden.

I’m a Creative so I can relate to the love a creator has for his/her creation. No matter how imperfect, we believe there’s good in every creation at the very least. At worst we believe it can be better and sometimes we spend entire lifetimes trying to perfect our creation.

God is a Creative.

So every time I fear or worry, he’s still there trusting me through the process and it’s this unrelenting trust he has in me that eventually saves me. Because he trusts me, he keeps coming for me, keeps teaching me, allows the experiences I need to learn from happen, he keeps healing me…

He has enough faith for us both
He doesn’t ask for what he hasn’t given

So when he asks for my trust and my faith and my love, it’s because he has given them to me ahead.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the one-millionth time I fail, or worry or fear or fret…
He’s there. He trusts me to get it right. He knows I can.
Be good. Be better. Do better. Do more.
He trusts me to trust him because he wants to partner with me to pull madht stunts on earth.

Wow.

I mean, when we see it this way, suddenly trusting God becomes easier and doable. It just makes sense.

– St. Davnique
(c) 2021

Letter to Ola #5

Dear Olaedo,

On Prayers

I wish I could write ‘PRAYER WORKS‘, drop the mic and hope you would understand enough to appreciate the depth of that truth.

Perhaps, after I tell you the story of my friend, Onuegbu, you would understand better. To protect his identity, we’ll call him Onuegbu. He and I became friends in 2013. He calls me his best friend although I don’t feel worthy of the title. His life is devoid of true friendship which perhaps is why he considers the little I offer the best he has ever had.

Onuegbu has a beautiful heart and sees only the good in people. I have never heard him talk ill of anybody even when people constantly leave his back fiercely itching after he has done a thorough job scratching their backs.

Nobody wants to drown with a drowning person.

Life is not as fair to him as he is to life’s benefactors.

Onuegbu has sickle cell anemia and ordinarily, he may have been able to cope comfortably if well treated but his financial state is so unstable, he could barely eat, let alone afford medications.

His health got so bad that his family abandoned him and he was left alone to cater for himself. Being his friend has its dark side. He always needs company. It helps in distracting him from the pains of stiffening bones and excruciating pains.

I think talking about his problems is a form of therapy for him so even when my own life is crashing, I would stay on the phone for hours and listen to him complain.

The difficulty in feeding is the most heartbreaking part. He would call and ask for as little as a transfer of N500 to eat as he had not eaten all day.
I prayed first in 2015 for his healing. Oh well, it continued. I prayed again in August 2020. This time, I fasted for 3 days.

He wanted to give up. He was ready to commit suicide. His hustle has been fruitless. The lack of capital wasn’t helping matters. Each time he got a little money to put into something, his health would knock him down and he would use the money to pay hospital bills.

He was in so much anguish and I couldn’t take it. I prayed and fasted for a way; for something to work for him. I kept asking how he felt from time to time as I prayed but nothing changed. (Ha. I was tired oh. What’s all this nah?)

It can be frustrating when you can do little to alleviate such pain from a friend’s life. The darkness is contagious. (You don’t contact the sickle cell silly. You just drown in misery alongside him).

This was us until we got a glimmer of hope yesterday.

I replied to a tweet by Ozzy Etomi on Twitter yesterday and talked about my anemic friend and his ordeal in a brief yet explicit manner.

It got a lot of reactions and comments from people sending their love and light, and other anemic people saying that sickle cell anemia can easily be lived with but with medications and good food which involves money.
One particular man replied and asked me to give his international number to my friend to contact him as he would like to be of assistance!
Glory!

We’ll be calling our man ‘Godsent’.
Onuegbu chatted up Godsent on WhatsApp and after a long talk, GodSent said he will set up a business fully for him.

Did I cry? Yes. The pieces of my thankfulness were all over the place and I wished I could mould it into a clay medal of thankfulness and present it wholly to God.

Instead, I sang ‘Great is thy faithfulness’, then muttered words in tongues, then exploded in laughter after which crying followed.
The crying and laughter started happening so concurrently that I couldn’t differentiate my laughter from my cry.

Long pause.

Tongues again.

Plain words of gratitude.

Blast of memories.

Feelings of inadequacy because I could not mould a perfect ‘thank you’.

I curled up and breathed softly knowing that even my breath was drawing invisible strokes of thankfulness in the air.

Your Mama


ChyD

©2020

Letter to Ola #4

Dear Olaedo,

On Friends with Benefits

When my therapist said the life of every relationship is dependent on benefits, I thought it was a selfish thing to say but a critical examination showed it was true.

Ever wondered why your best friend is your best friend? My guess is that she understands you. This is because you have the same values, so talking to her is easy and soothing. Your conversations are mostly warm because when you discuss fundamental issues, you vibe on the same frequency.

When you learn something new, you can’t wait to share it with her. You’ll literally blow up with information hoarding if you don’t share it.

One of the hardest things you’ll ever face is when your best friend is going through pain. Any kind of pain. It hurts like it’s a personal pain because it is.

On occasion, where distance reduces the frequency of your communication, the heart still knows where its loyalty lies and every reunion feels like no time has been lost.

Healthy friendships are beautiful and are the most important institution humanity has ever seen. Marriages and family relationships are shams without friendship.

I lost my dad at a period when I didn’t care about the size of a mustard seed. The mustard seed that could challenge me had not mustered any courage. I prayed for his healing and believed but he still died. I had a journal where I called God all sorts of vile names. My favourite was ‘scam’. I considered him my best friend and he did me dirty. I still believed in his sovereignty but the relationship seemed like a master-slave relationship since he could just let my dad die just like that. Ah!

I think those prayers ‘we’ made far back in the days to not be able to breathe nor live without Christ came through for me because I could only last three months of not speaking with God before I ran back to ask him why he did me like that. That was not how friends acted. He showed me things happening around me I took for granted and we made up.

At another time, I had issues with my best friend and we both knew we were suffering but couldn’t resolve our issues and I prayed fervently that God should heal our friendship. It seemed like a flippant thing to pray about but I knew that no matter how flippant it was, if it affected me, then it was important enough to God. She came to me and we talked. The mountain of a problem we had became a levelled ground and I gave her a letter I wrote to her at the exact time she came to meet me.

Sometime later, I had an issue that stole my peace and I tried all I could to be of sound mind including going for therapy but my efforts were futile until I turned to God. Yes! You guessed right!

I got my peace back.

Most times, we get it all wrong. My friend would say you should test and see if your Lord is good. Don’t just hear it and carry it about when you can’t boast strongly without a doubt of one thing he has done for you aside from the cross you’ve heard of and believed or things you can cross off as coincidences.

What reinforces the cross are your experiences today. Maybe that’s why you struggle with consistency in ministry. You may be doing it because it’s a command and I don’t think that is a sustainable reason.

I became so dependent on God that I wanted to give back too; so I started asking him how I can go about doing things for him also. I wanted to reciprocate.

What we think we owe God, what He requires of us and what we think our blessings are dependent on are wrong notions we’ll address in the future.

For today, what benefits have you gotten from your relationship with God?

Do you have a relationship at all? Life is easier with such a beneficial friendship.


With Love,
Mama

ChyD

©2020

Letter to Ola #3

Dear Olaedo,


Your greatest fear

What’s your greatest fear in life? If you are anything like me, it would be a failure.

Failure to measure up. Failure to prove to everyone that you are not basic. Failure to achieve everything you’ve set out to achieve. Failure to pepper dem. Or just failure!

Living with this fear is maddening. It is stressful! You keep trying to measure up for all the wrong reasons.

Fear is no respecter of any reason so even if it is for the right reasons, it would still mess you up.

I used to think the fear of failure is a good thing and that it would make you stay on your toes and put more effort into whatever it is you are doing to succeed.

It does the opposite.

When you have pushed all the boundaries you can push and things don’t go your way, you hate yourself. You slowly go into depression. You think you are incomplete.

Putting too much value on things that can perish is not a good idea because as much as you think you have what it takes to get and keep what you want, life still happens.
People still die!

Otedola, Dangote, and few other successful Nigerians you know weren’t the only people with access to capital, wit, hard work, and smart work in their generation.

Time and chance happen to everyone.

This is not to say you should not aspire to be great! I am a hustler! So hustle ooooooo so that…(complete it with what is likely to happen to you. Lol.)

At the end of the day we all die; the rich and the poor, the young and the old.

I don’t know my grandfather. A couple of his direct children are dead. In a few years, every other person who knew him would be dead. Would it be insensitive to say I don’t even care about him?

I hope he enjoyed the short life he lived. I hope he didn’t try to please everybody. I hope he did only what he could and what he was ready for at every point in his life.

I have the same hopes for you.

Relax!

With Love,
Mama

-ChyD
© 2020