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'The Chosen' actor Jonathan Roumie says playing Jesus taught him to be totally dependent on God

The Chosen
Jonathan Roumie stars as Jesus in "The Chosen" |

ATLANTA — Before he was cast as Jesus Christ in the hit series “The Chosen,” Jonathan Roumie was in a dark place. 

“Four years ago, before I started this journey, I was in a much different place in my life,” the 48-year-old actor told The Christian Post. “I was broke; I didn't know if I was going to continue to be an actor.”

At his lowest, in May 2018, Roumie decided to “completely and utterly” surrender to God in every area of his life. Just three months later, “The Chosen” creator Dallas Jenkins called Roumie to ask if he wanted to star in a series about the life of Jesus Christ and His followers, and the rest is history. 

Since “The Chosen” launched in 2019, over 94 million people around the world have watched the series. "The Chosen" season three launched in 2,012 theaters on Nov. 18, finishing domestically at No. 3, making $8,687,682 at the box office. Praised for its historical and biblical accuracy, the show has been translated into 62 languages.

The theme of season three, Jenkins told CP at the red carpet premiere, is “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

“This season really captures the weary and heavy laden,” Jenkins said. “And I think our world right now is going through ‘weary and heavy-laden,’ COVID, weather issues, whatever it is, political divisiveness, those are all things that they went through in the first century. Jesus came, and they expected Him to overcome the Romans, to make everything OK, and to solve all the political problems. He didn't; that wasn't why He was there. He was creating a new Kingdom, and He had a new definition of what rest looked like.”

“I think the key for this season is we give a definition of what rest looks like by seeing Jesus and what rest looks like through the eyes of the disciples,” he added.

Studying the person of Jesus and portraying Him on the big screen, Roumie said, has been “profoundly enriching” to his personal walk. 

“It’s forced me to depend even more than I thought I was depending on God already for everything in my life,” he said. “There's not a day that goes by that I don't start with prayer and give gratitude for where God's brought me through this journey.”

Roumie said he prays the show points viewers to “a greater power,” to “God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

“I hope that they can feel inspired to go read Scriptures and be inspired by the Word and maybe find the Church and get more involved in making God a greater part of their lives because your life only gets better."

Roumie will next appear as the charismatic hippie street preacher Lonnie Frisbee in “Jesus Revolution,” which is scheduled to be released on Feb. 24, 2023.

“That was a whole other approach to a God-loving character; that was a trip,” Roumie said of his role in the upcoming Erwin brothers film. 

But whether he’s starring in “The Chosen” or bringing the story of the “Jesus Revolution” to the big screen, Roumie sees his work as a form of ministry, a way to share the hope of Christ with a hurting world.

“As you get to know Christ more and more deeply, [life] can never get worse, it only gets better. I think more people need to know that, to hear that. And if we can find a way to do that through modern media, like storytelling and television, then that's our calling,” he said. 

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: leah.klett@christianpost.com

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