Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 2, Episode 8: Beyond Mountains)

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 final episode, entitled “Beyond Mountains.”

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Jesus and Matthew

In the days leading up the sermon event, Jesus and Matthew meet early in the morning so that Jesus can dictate parts of the sermon to Matthew. Once most of the sermon is written, Jesus asks for Matthew’s opinion, so Matthew says that it seems like that the sermon is full of ominous pronouncements, lending a few examples. As a result, Jesus and Matthew have a dialogue about how Jesus did not come to maintain the status quo or initiate a revolt but to start a revolution so that the Jewish people could participate in the healing of the world. Matthew believes that some of the rules in the sermon are impossible while others are not presented plainly. Jesus says that He’s using metaphor like Solomon did because He wants truly committed followers to peer deeply into His teachings, thus weeding out passive observers.

Throughout their talks, Jesus continues walking over to a cliff that oversees the disciples’ camp. He makes remarks about what His students are doing, and Matthew wonders if the students can get along while they are handing out notices about the upcoming sermon. Jesus says that conflict is expected during the trying times in which they lived, especially since He was building something new that was open to all people from various walks of life.

Previously, Matthew had said that he thought the the opening of the sermon needed more, and Jesus agreed with him. Thus, Jesus said that He needed some time to work out the beginning. After meeting with and praying to the Father, Jesus wakes up Matthew at night, saying that He has the beginning of the sermon, which will be a map. Matthew asks what kind of map, and Jesus says that it’s a map of where His followers can be found. Then, Jesus proceeds to give the Beatitudes to Matthew.

Simon son of Jonah, Andrew, John son of Zebedee, Big James, Philip, Thomas, and Simon son of Zebulon

As Simon son of Jonah, Andrew, John son of Zebedee, and Big James do various tasks around camp, Andrew is still worried about everything, and his brother makes veiled comments about this. Big James is annoyed that Jesus keeps giving Matthew extra attention, but Simon son of Jonah seems to defend Matthew, which frustrates everyone. Simon son of Zebulon says that Jesus and Matthew have been up early every morning. John son of Zebedee takes issue with how Simon son of Zebulon seems to value physical health over spiritual health, but the former zealot is nonplussed about this.

Philip and Thomas stay out of the conflict as they bring food that they had foraged. Thomas makes a point to tell Tamar that he specifically found apricots for Ramah instead of the apples that Philip had gotten. Thomas wants Tamar to tell Ramah this fact.

Later, as the group worries about no one showing up for the sermon, Simon son of Jonah, along with the women, tries to calm everyone down. Thomas think he’s doing everything wrong but is silenced by Ramah praising his work. At the sermon, Philip, Big James, Simon son of Zebulon, and John son of Zebedee help with crowd control. This is where John reunites with his parents.

Nathanael, Thaddeus, and Little James

Jesus’ mission for Nathanael, Thaddeus, and Little James is for these three disciples to secure a location for the sermon. Jesus gave them exact specifications to look for in the prospective land, but when they arrive at where Thaddeus believes the location to be, a goatherder tells them to go away. Thus, the three disciples schedule a meeting with the landowner at a public house.

However, landowner is not enthused about many people coming on his land, and he doesn’t think that Nathanael, Thaddeus or Little James are good at negotiation or have convincing arguments for why he should donate the use of his land. The three disciples appear to be losing their case before the businessman steps in. Later, Nathanael and Thaddeus help design and construct the stage that Jesus would later use to begin the sermon.

Mary Magdalene, Ramah, Mary Mother, Tamar, and Eden

As Mary Magdalene copies notices for the sermon that the disciples would later hand out, she helps Ramah finish reading Psalm 139. When Ramah makes mistakes, Mary corrects the errors from memory, which prompts Ramah to ask Mary how she knows the entire Psalm. Mary says that she has to have tools so that she doesn’t fall back into problems but doesn’t want to talk any further when Ramah tries to console her. As Ramah keeps practicing, Mary seems to sadly contemplate the meaning of the fact that God knew what she was going to do before she was born.

In another tent, Tamar and Mary Mother prepare for the day, and Tamar wants to know if she’s required to learn how to read. Mary Mother explains that it’s optional and that Ramah just wanted to keep up. Later, Tamar takes Thomas’ apricots to Ramah and seems to pick up on the potential romance between Thomas and Ramah.

Just before Jesus is ready to go out onto the stage for the sermon, Mary Magdalene, Ramah, Mary Mother, and Tamar magically produce four different colored sashes and try to convince Jesus to wear one of them even though the Son of Man (and some audience members) couldn’t care less. The four women are split 2-2 on what color Jesus should wear, so Jesus asks Eden to break the tie. Previously, Eden had showed up for the sermon and reunited with her husband.

Just before the sermon, Jesus and Mary Mother have a private moment in which they discuss how they wish that Joseph was there to witness Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Shmuel, Yanni, Shammai, Quintus, Atticus, and Gaius

Using the testimonies of Madai and Lamech, Shmuel and Yanni finally gain an audience with Shammai, the leader of the legalistic sect of Pharisees in the Sanhedrin. Shammai is beside himself with excitement about the opportunity to get back at his rival, Shimon. Shmuel and Yanni share various things that they learned about Jesus’ revolutionary activies, but Shammai wants more than just facts. The elder Pharisee wants to use rumors and conjecture to stir up trouble when the time is right so that Shimon can be politically damaged for not dealing with Jesus sooner. Shammai expects Jesus to become more popular and wants to wait until this happens before exposing the fact that Shimon did nothing when Jesus was still virtually unknown. However, Shammai wants everything documented beforehand and plans to stoke his followers with Shabbat sermons about Jesus.

Throughout the conversation, Shmuel seems uncomfortable with some of Shammai’s methods and comments, such as derogatory remarks about Nicodemus, but Yanni silences Shmuel because Yanni is salivating over the opportunity for political advancement. As such, Yanni fully agrees to Shammai’s terms and plans.

When Quintus receives a notice about Jesus’ sermon event, the praetor is not happy. Atticus seems to be amused at this, and Gaius feigns innocence. In the end, Atticus and Gaius join the sermon crowd to watch and wait.

Judas and the Businessman

Judas is the apprentice of an unnamed businessman, and they begin their day by running a con on an elderly landowner. The businessman discovered that there was a hidden salt mine on the older man’s property, so the businessman and Judas schemed to buy the land for cheaper than it was worth under the guise of digging graves for middle class Jews. However, the elderly man is skeptical of their offer and hesitant to give up the land that has been in his family for many generations because the land is a piece of the promised land. Nonetheless, the businessman is uninterested in sentiment and only increases his offer buy a small amount. When the elderly man continues to probe about why the two men are so desperate for the land, Judas pretends to care about the elderly man, which softens the older man enough to accept the businessman’s low offer.

Later, the businessman celebrates the success of their scam, saying that they will be set up like kings for the rest of their lives. However, Judas is frustrated about how they conned the older man out of valuable land and is disillusioned to what the purpose of money is if one cannot make a lasting difference in the world. The businessman tries to brush Judas’ concerns aside by saying that more money means that they can devote themselves more to God, but Judas is worried about growing scales on his eyes. In the end, the businessman gives Judas an advance on the sale of the land, and this causes Judas to perk up.

While Nathanael, Little James, and Thaddeus are in the public house trying to convince the owner of the land that they want to use for the sermon to let them use the land, the businessman overhears the conversation and decides to show off his negotiating skills. When the land deal is about to fall through, the businessman steps in to convince the landowner that the products that come from his land could be associated with the success of the miracle worker’s ministry, which eventually convinces the landowner to let the disciples use the land.

The businessman and Judas leave the public house before the disciples can thank them for helping, and on the way out, the businessman gloats to Judas about how they can use these negotiating skills to influence many people. The businessman also says that he’s interested in hearing from Jesus of Nazareth, and Judas is excited about the idea of going to the sermon, so the businessman agrees to go.

At the sermon, the businessman salivates over the number of people who are attending the event and immediately tries to assert himself as a helper for the disciples who are directing the crowds. After the businessman leaves, Judas runs into Barnaby, who insists that he can take Judas to see Jesus. However, Judas becomes confused after Barnaby goes a different way from the crowds but follows anyway. Eventually, Barnaby leads Judas right to where the disciples are waiting for Jesus, and Nathanael recognizes Judas. Nathanael thanks Judas for his help in getting the land and introduces Judas to Simon son of Jonah. Later, Judas watches in anticipation as Jesus goes out onto the stage.

Barnaby, Shula, Zebedee, and Salome

Barnaby and Shula attend the sermon event and end up bumping into Judas. Barnaby says that he can take Judas to Jesus and proceeds to go the opposite direction of the others, saying that he wants to meet some old friends. When Barnaby calls the event “a show,” Shula corrects Barnaby, saying that it’s not a show even though this fact is debatable. Barnaby and Shula end up sneaking behind the curtains that are hiding the disciples from the waiting crowds, and the two from Capernaum reunite with their old friends.

Zebedee and Salome also attend the sermon event, which is where they reunite with their younger son. Zebedee pretends to cause trouble while Salome playfully chastises her husband. Salome is concerned that her son John is not eating enough.

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