Jonathan Roumie tells CUA graduates to 'represent Him at all times'

Jonathan Roumie attends the Global Premiere of season 4 of 'The Chosen' at The Empire Cinema in Leicester Square on January 22, 2024, in London, England.
Jonathan Roumie attends the Global Premiere of season 4 of "The Chosen" at The Empire Cinema in Leicester Square on January 22, 2024, in London, England. | Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images

A famous actor known for portraying Jesus Christ is calling on graduates of a prominent Catholic university to “represent Him at all times” and “surrender” to Him as they embark on the next journey in their lives. 

Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus Christ in the series “The Chosen,” addressed graduates at the Catholic University of America’s commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. During his remarks, he reflected on his career and shared “three simple lessons I’ve learned playing Jesus.”

“You don’t need to play Jesus for the world in order to be Jesus to the world,” he declared. “I’ve realized that just because I play Jesus on a TV show doesn’t mean I can or I should stop being Christ to everyone I know when the cameras turn off, and neither should you.”

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Roumie told the graduates, “just because you’re not an actor playing Jesus or you’re not a priest or a nun doesn’t mean you’re not meant to represent Him at all times wherever you go.” He also encouraged graduates and their loved ones to “pray for vocations,” warning that “the Church would cease to exist on Earth, especially sacramentally, if vocations are not prayed for and answered by God and the Holy Spirit.” 

“Being Jesus to the world doesn’t mean God is expecting perfection from you. We all know that was accomplished by only one person on Earth and His mother,” Roumie, a Catholic, added. “You must endeavor to preach the Gospel by the life you live, by your actions and the choices you make, by the political positions you take, and advocacy for the causes you champion.”

Roumie identified “defending life at all stages” as one of the most important political positions for Christians to take. “Don’t let the enemy tempt you to pick up a can of gasoline and add to the flames of the chaos and the fear,” he proclaimed. Instead, Roumie suggested that Christians have an opportunity to “put out those flames” and “offer a blanket of peace, the peace of acting in accordance with the Holy Spirit, providing the solace and wisdom of Jesus so desperately needed in our times.”

“Pray for those who disagree with you or even condemn you,” he instructed the audience. “Let restraint be your guide, especially in the digital age, when it is so easy to just react.”

Roumie also encouraged the crowd to “pray more,” adding, “Before I can play Jesus, I have to pray to Jesus.” 

He added, “As my walk with Jesus has gone deeper and gotten more intense, so have the spiritual attacks. The phrase ‘new levels, new devils’ comes to mind often.” 

“The era we’re living in demands a revolution of deep prayer, one of silence and solitude amidst the dim of the world.” Explaining that he follows the biblical command to “pray without ceasing,” Roumie remarked that he embraces “the game-changing triumvirate: prayer, fasting and repentance” at times when “things really get tough.”

“If I’m feeling particularly burdened or attacked spiritually, I fast and before I shoot a single frame, I take stock of all the ways in which I have fallen short in my life,” he added, noting that he brings them “into the sacrament of reconciliation regularly followed by the sacrifice of the Mass and the receipt of the Eucharist.”

“By this, I’m granted peace. I’m given wisdom in areas of my life experiencing conflict beyond my human understanding, and I’m strengthened to go forward and to handle situations I am otherwise overwhelmed by.”

Reflecting on the fame he's achieved as a result of playing Jesus, Roumie described how he often asks, “Why would God give this to me?” 

Roumie responded to his own question by stating, “God will use anyone and any means necessary to call us to Himself, to serve and emulate Him. And in my case, quite literally.” 

“When you commit to serving God first and not yourselves first, but God first, that’s when your true success will begin.”

Roumie concluded his remarks by encouraging graduates to “surrender.” 

“You’re not in charge. God is. I cannot underscore this enough,” he added. 

“I would not be standing with you here today if God had not brought me to my knees in utter desperation to surrender my entire life and, more specifically, my career, over to Him, something I hadn’t even considered before,” he asserted.

“You want to know just how perfect God’s timing is?” he asked. “So this watershed moment that I’m about to describe to you, this life-altering experience for me of absolute surrender occurred six years ago today, this morning.”

Roumie recalled how “on that day, God remade me a completely new creature in Christ.” He detailed how “for the majority of my life, I thought I was in charge and that I was solely responsible for my rise and my fall.”

“Right after graduation, panic set in. I needed a job. I had no concept of including God in my plans,” he lamented. While Roumie acknowledged that many in the audience probably had plans thought out for graduation, he asked them to consider, “is God in the fire of it all with you?” 

Roumie brought up how, despite volunteering actively with his church, he was “still penniless and preoccupied with my own survival as if God stopped counting the hairs on my head.” 

“I dropped to my knees, and I poured myself out to the Lord and surrendered everything to Him, saying, ‘I can’t do this without you, so whatever you will for me, I will accept it, even if it means quitting acting or leaving the arts. Whatever it is, I surrender,’” he said. Roumie recalled having the feeling of a weight being “lifted off” him after surrendering, which he characterized as “the hardest thing I have ever done” and “the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.” 

Shortly after surrendering, “four mysterious checks” appeared in Roumie’s mailbox. Not long after that, he first began experiencing success as the star of “The Chosen.” 

“It will be the most life-changing thing to ever happen to you if you allow it, especially at this point in your young lives,” he vowed. “Look at what He’s done for me in six years. It’s insane. Imagine what He could do if you invite Him to that level of intimacy and surrender in your lives.”

“I’ve found that surrender leads to salvation in every way possible. Your self-reliance won’t cure you; your willpower won’t save you. Your independence will not deliver you from that which seeks to destroy your faith in God, erode your hope in Christ or corrode your love for the Holy Spirit and humanity itself,” Roumie maintained. “These are all lies from the enemy. The more you commit, the deeper He takes you. The more you love Him, the higher you’ll go. The more you seek Him, the wilder your journey gets.” 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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