Why did the religious ruling elite dog Jesus’ path? In the gospels, it seems this group attended all of Jesus’ public events. Was it merely a clash over theology? Or could there have been something deeper and more personal involved?
Mark Millar and Peter Gross continue telling the story of Jodie Christianson, the returned Christ, in Chosen: Part Two. With this issue, Millar and Gross introduce the Pharisaical element of the story.
Jodie is trying to understand who he is, and he goes to Father O’Higgins for help. Jodie is not Catholic, but he turns to the priest as a representative of the established church.
Jodie tries to get Father O’Higgins to understand what is taking place in Jodie’s life, but the priest dismisses Jodie as a teenager with fantasies. The father says he is aware of Jodie’s survival of the accident, but that does not make him Jesus returned. He advises Jodie to stop talking about being the returned Christ.
Jodie is undaunted. He gathers his friends and begins to perform miracles. He turns water into wine, cures a friend with vision problems, and even heals the man who is hospitalized because of the accident that started Jodie’s journey. His fame begins to spread from the schoolyard to the churchyard.
Father O’Higgins returns to Jodie to pressure him to stop talking about being Christ returned. Jodie confronts the priest about his lack of faith, even accusing him of causing a decline in church attendance. The priest is so incensed that he throws Jodie out—and sets the stage for a future conflict between the two.
Millar and Gross continue to show us a Christ who swears, smokes and lusts. Jodie is a typical teenager, but hardly typical as the Christ returned. Jodie does try to clean up his act, but he still wrestles with his humanity. This comic carries a mature rating because of its “graphic content.”
Jodie has Jesus’ powers; he is able to do miracles. But one must ask if miracles a Messiah makes? He is a fallen person who is called within this story to be a perfect savior.
It also needs to be noted that Millar and Gross show us a dark side of messiahship. Jodie is beaten on because of his ability; many do not understand him, and that lack of understanding means the infliction of violence. Jodie has to bear the burden of being the Christ returned.
Another troubling aspect of the story is the way that Jodie seems to readily dismiss other faiths. When asked about the possibility that Jesus did not exist and that there are other faiths, Jodie says, “Looks like they backed the wrong horse.” In this age of conflict over religion, this kind of dismissal does not wear well. Having the returned Christ wave his hand and flippantly discount other faiths is troubling.
All that said, Millar and Gross are doing a service by getting people outside the church to ask questions. In discussing this comic with a friend (who does not attend church), the question of how Millar and Gross are going to end this story came up.
There is so much going on with this story, it’s hard to see how it can end in one more issue. But that’s the promise.
The jury is still out on Chosen, but it has done something all good stories do: keep you involved to the end.
And we see hints of that ending, with crosses appearing on almost every page. Will Jodie go to the cross?
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
Click here to read our review of Chosen: Part One.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.