Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 2, Episode 6: Unlawful)

The Chosen has been a transformational series, and it’s now in its second season. Its audience has exploded in the past year and only has more potential to grow. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential to reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we saw in the second season’s sixth episode, entitled “Unlawful.”

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Simon son of Jonah, Matthew, and Mary Magdalene

Simon son of Jonah and Matthew continued their search for Mary Magdalene in Jericho, sleeping in someone’s stable overnight. In the morning, Matthew is intent on making a plan to find Mary and forgot to stay clean while lying in the hay. Simon takes note of this and also realizes that Matthew has an attraction to Mary as Matthew describes Mary to Simon. Simon appears to soften to Matthew as a result of this. The two men are interrupted by a hungover Roman soldier stumbling by the stable, making comments about having quite a night at a bar called The Nomad. Simon tries to help the solider, but the soldier is obviously prejudiced against Jews. However, Matthew infers from one of the soldier’s comments that The Nomad has stairs, implying that Mary could be there based on what Jesus told him about remembering the verse from Psalm 139.

In The Nomad, Mary Magdalene is getting drunk and gambling on knucklebones. She has turned her one shekel into a pile of shekels, but she is being heavily scrutinized by the rough men at the gambling table. When one of the men, Hohj, is angry about losing all his money, he tries to move toward Mary, but Jethro stops him. Nonetheless, after looking around and remembering what her father told her about what to do when she was scared, Mary abruptly exits the bar, leaving her gambling winnings behind.

Matthew and Simon enter The Nomad later, and Matthew awkwardly asks the crowded room if they had seen someone fitting the description of Mary. Hohj recognizes Mary as Lilith and blames her his losing all his money. After leaving The Nomad, Matthew insists that he and Simon need to split up to cover more ground, but Simon is worried about Matthew getting lost. Matthew says that they have to do what they can to find Mary because it’s important to take her back to Jesus. Simon reluctantly agrees, but just as he’s pointing out directions for Matthew to follow, Mary calls to them from an alleyway.

Mary is sitting in an alley, hungover from being drunk. She wasn’t sure as first if seeing Simon and Matthew was a dream, and the two men rush over to her. They want to help her to return to Jesus, but Mary insists that she’s not going anywhere because Jesus fixed her once and probably couldn’t fix her again. Matthew tells Mary that he’s a bad person and used to live only for himself without any faith. Matthew also reminds Mary of what she contributes to the group and encourages Simon to do the same. Simon reminisces about how Mary helped Tamar bring the paralytic to the roof of Zebedee’s house, and Matthew says that Ramah is learning more about Torah because of Mary. At this point, Mary seems convinced but is interrupted by hangover vomiting. Rather than being repulsed, Matthew takes off his handkerchief to help Mary clean up. Matthew directs Simon to go get water, and Simon does, surprised at what Matthew is doing.

Simon and Matthew lead Mary Magdalene back to the camp of disciples where they are greeted by Ramah and Mary Mother. Mary Magdalene is hesitant to see Jesus, but Mary Mother insists that she needs to see Him immediately. Mary Mother leads Mary Magdalene to Jesus’ tent, where He is sad and praying after the news of John the Baptizer’s arrest. Jesus tells Mary Magdalene that He’s not distraught over her but that there’s a lot going on, which is why it’s good for Mary Magdalene to be back. Mary Magdalene is still inconsolable because she feels like there’s no reason why she should have thrown away what Jesus had given to her. Jesus says that redemption can’t be lost in a day and that He knows how painful Mary’s trauma was for her. Jesus explains that no one can be instantly perfect and that these things take time. Mary, although she apologizes, still isn’t convinced that she can be fixed, so Jesus verbally forgives Mary, which prompts Mary to cling to Him and finally accept His forgiveness.

While Jesus talks to Mary Magdalene, Matthew listens outside the tent. When they had first come in, Simon son of Jonah had learned of the arrest of John the Baptizer and gone to find Andrew, who was freaking out about the situation. Later, after leaving the synagogue of Wadi Kelt, Simon begins to subconsciously pick heads of grain while he excitedly recaps for the group what Jesus had just done. However, when the group stares at Simon’s actions, he realizes that he was doing work on Shabbat and spits out what he had eaten. After Simon apologizes to Jesus for this perceived error, Jesus tells the group that they can eat the heads of grain, so everyone does.

After Simon son of Jonah had picked heads of grain, Matthew had asked Philip what the problem was. Matthew had also asked Philip why Madai and Lamech were so concerned about Jesus’ use of the term “Son of Man.”

Ramah and Mary Mother

As Ramah and Mary Mother forage for food by looking for edible plants, Ramah confides in Mary Mother that she is worried about Mary Magdalene and their whole situation in general. Ramah doesn’t understand why Jesus was allowing all of it to happen, especially since He had the power to make things better. Mary Mother says that she didn’t always understand how her Son worked, but she trusts that because the Father always took care of His children and knew what was best for them, Jesus would do the same. Ramah also reveals that she wants to be a teacher and that Mary Magdalene had been a great help to her.

Later, when Simon son of Jonah and Matthew bring back Mary Magdalene, Ramah and Mary Mother rush to greet Mary Magdalene. Ramah is glad to see her, and Mary Mother gives Mary Magdalene a new head covering. Though Mary Magdalene is hesitant, Mary Mother insists that she needs to go see Jesus. Thus, Mary Mother takes Mary Magdalene to Jesus and stays with her the whole time.

Thomas, Andrew, Thaddeus, Little James, Philip, Nathanael, and Simon son of Zebulon

While Simon son of Jonah and Matthew are gone, Thomas counts the group’s remaining food and confides in Andrew that they do not have enough portions left for everyone to eat for the next meal. However, Andrew is mentally distracted because he thinks that Philip has been gone for too long. Andrew absent-mindedly tells Thomas about how he used to follow John the Baptizer and not always have enough food, but sometimes, they would have too much food, depending on the people who had just been baptized. Thomas thinks that John the Baptizer needed better planning, but Andrew says that John never valued money at all.

When Philip returns, he reveals that John the Baptizer had been imprisoned by Herod for life because of what John had told the king. Andrew becomes distraught over this. Simon son of Zebulon confidently says that they could break John out of prison because Simon knew some people. Philip seems to be interested in this idea for a quick second, but he changes his mind and tells Simon that he’s no longer a zealot. Andrew says that nothing could be worse than John being imprisoned for life.

Thomas interjects in this discussion to share that the situation is worse than they know, saying that things like this never used to happen before he met the other disciples. This leads him to interrupt Jesus’ meeting with Mary Magdalene to tell his Rabbi that the group is running out of food. Jesus tells Thomas that this is the perfect time to ask the Father for what they need, especially with Shabbat coming. Jesus suggests that they go to a nearby synagogue in a small town for the Jewish holy day.

Thaddeus, Little James, and Nathanael do not have any substantial scenes in this episode.

Big James and John son of Zebedee

While they chop wood, the two Sons of Thunder talk about the current state of the group. John son of Zebedee tells his brother, in response to watching Simon son of Zebulon perform his zealot exercises, that he once considered joining the zealots. Big James says that he never knew this, and John implies that the thought was short-lived because he liked his comfortable life with Zebedee and Salome.

When discussing Mary Magdalene and feeling sorry for her, Big James discloses to his brother that he really doesn’t understand everything that’s going on because he’s just following. John says that he has a feeling that, for quite awhile, many in the group won’t understand everything that’s happening.

Shmuel and Yanni

Shmuel and Yanni are able to gain an audience with Shimon’s scribe, Dunash, but this higher-ranking Pharisee is dismissive of the claims that Shmuel and Yanni are bringing forth. Dunash loftily explains that Shimon, the current president of the Sanhedrin, is concerned with helping vulnerable populations and alleviating the burden of the Talmud rather than enforcing the rules of Shabbat. Yanni insists that blasphemy is an important matter, but Dunash berates Yanni as being stuck his lower position because he doesn’t listen. Shmuel insists that the law of God is perfect and doesn’t need to be softened, but Dunash, seemingly bored with the complaints, says that Shimon has no time for disputes over doing work on the Jewish holy day.

Later, Yanni rants about Dunash’s arrogant attitude and put-downs. Shmuel seems defeated and resigned to the matter being over. However, Yanni is ready to fight back, insisting that the situation is far from over because they now needed to go to Shimei, the leader of the opposite school of thought in the Sanhedrin. Yanni firmly believes the Shimei will not overlook the Shabbat violations because he is more stringent and will want a chance to one-up Shimon, who ignored the problems. Yanni and Shmuel agree that more testimony is needed before moving forward, and Shmuel wonders aloud why it took all this.

Madai and Lamech

In the small town of Wadi Kelt, Madai is the synagogue priest while Lamech is the teacher. When Jesus and His disciples come into the synagogue, Lamech is reading regulations from the Torah about who can and cannot enter the assembly of the Lord. Madai immediately notices the large group of people entering the building and stops Lamech from his reading. Lamech demands that Jesus tell them what He’s doing, but Jesus focuses on Elam, a man with a withered hand. Jesus highlights Elam’s infirmity for Madai and Lamech, but they insist that it’s not lawful to heal on Shabbat, which visibly frustrates Jesus. Jesus asks the general room if it was lawful for someone to take care of a lost animal on Shabbat, but Madai and Lamech order for Jesus to be silent and warn Elam that Jesus could be a shaman. Jesus ignores them and once again asks the room if it was lawful to save lives on Shabbat before telling Elam to stretch out his hand. Madai and Lamech insist that Elam’s affliction doesn’t impact his life or health, but Elam’s hand stretching out of his hand leads to its healing as the hand returns to full health. This lights Lamech’s fuse as he screams that God could have healed Elam if the healing was meant to happen. Madai angrily tells Jesus to leave before asking what was wrong with Him. Jesus says that apparently everything is wrong with Him as He and His disciples leave. However, Madai and Lamech suddenly call after them to come back.

Madai and Lamech catch up with the disciple group as they are eating heads of grain, complaining about Jesus making a mockery of their synagogue. They demand to know Jesus’ lineage before getting distracted by the disciples breaking off heads of grain on Shabbat and accusing Jesus of this transgression as well. Jesus reminds them of the time that King David ate the showbread, but Madai asserts that this event was an emergency. When Jesus says that the Levites also do work on shabbat, Lamech challenges Jesus to reveal his lineage to see if He’s from the tribe of Levi, but Jesus ignores this, instead telling the two Pharisees that something greater than the temple had come to them. Jesus chastised the two men for not showing mercy and thus condemning the innocent before telling them that Shabbat was made for man not man for Shabbat, for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. This statement shocks Madai and Lamech, who are speechless as they watch Jesus and His disciples leave.

Later, Madai and Lamech are beside themselves as they breathlessly pen a report for Jerusalem about the events of the day. Madai laments that Jerusalem never gives them attention since their attention was divided by other matters but that this might might be their chance to be noticed even though they are a small town. Madai says that the best thing thing to do is to file the report, but because it might get lost in the paperwork shuffle, they also should see if they can find any fellow Pharisees to talk to in Jotapata, a nearby town. Lamech agrees that this is a good plan and that they also need to pray for justice.

Ahimalech, Yafa, Abiathar, and David

During the Old Testament period, Ahimalech was a priest in Nob. As his wife Yafa helps him get ready one morning, they discuss an ill family member with Yafa being a pessimist and Ahimalech being an optimist. Later, Ahimalech trains his son Abiathar in the practice of changing out the showbread, replacing the old bread with hot bread. As they do this, Ahimlaech explains to his son that God does not eat the bread, but it is a portion for the priests. The father and son are interrupted by David bursting through the door, so Ahimalech tells Abiathar to run home and tell his eema that all was well.

After Abiathar leaves, Ahimalech asks David why he came alone, and David explained that he was on an errand for the King and needed provision for his men, who were in hiding. David wants the showbread, but Ahimalech says that it’s for the priests, so David invokes a Jewish rule regarding emergency situations. Ahimalech relents, warning David that the men could not eat unless they were pure, and David insisted that they were. Before David leaves, Ahimalech says he doesn’t mind putting himself in danger to help the young man because something great would come through David.

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