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Why Are So Many People Binge-Watching a Show About Jesus? Derwin Gray Talks to Ed Stetzer on ‘The Chosen’ Set

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Screenshot from YouTube / @ChurchLeaders

People are longing not only for “authentic connection” but also for a true understanding of who Jesus really is, says Transformation Church pastor Dr. Derwin Gray. Gray joined Dr. Ed Stetzer, dean of the Talbot School of Theology, on the set of Season 4 of “The Chosen” for an exclusive interview.

“I think people are longing,” said Gray in response to Stetzer asking him what the popularity of “The Chosen” tells us about our cultural moment. “I think people are longing for not only authentic connection, but I think people are longing for, what is Jesus really like?”

Gray observed that Christian media is often not well-made. However, “The Chosen” features high quality acting and cinematography and “the story is compelling,” effectively bringing the person of Jesus to life. “And I think people are connecting, going, if that’s who Jesus is, I want to know him,” Gray said.

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Derwin Gray: People Are Disillusioned

All eight episodes of Season 4 of “The Chosen” are being released in theaters, a first for a streaming TV show. The first three episodes of the newest season, which have grossed over $13 million to date worldwide, came out on Feb. 1 and have just finished their run. The next three episodes release today and will be available in theaters for the next two weeks. On Feb. 29, the final two episodes will come out. 

The ethics of portraying Jesus in a television show has been hotly debated by some, with some people arguing that doing so is blasphemous. Doug Huffman, one of the advisors on the content of “The Chosen,” recently explained to Stetzer why he does not believe this is the case. 

Derwin Gray said that he actually believes fictionalizing aspects of Jesus’ life is beneficial. “I think it’s a good thing because God has given us imagination and because we live 2,000 years separate from Christ,” he said. “It is good to see a depiction of Jesus in his own world, with his own people, and these cultural nuances that we often miss. And the writers of  ‘The Chosen’ have done a good job of looking at the first century context of a Jewish Greco-Roman world.”

The pastor believes that the creativity involved in the show has touched something in the hearts of people who are yearning to connect with Jesus.  

“There’s so much disillusionment of man. My life is not what I thought it was going to be. There’s discouragement,” said Gray. “And then there’s doubt. Can I believe in anything? I can’t trust institutions. I can’t trust my family. And there stands” a portrait of Jesus on TV.