Jim Caviezel Shares How Billy Graham Impacted His Life

Actor Jim Caviezel is no stranger to television and film. In his most recent role, Caviezel portrays Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ." Caviezel has spent numerous hours promoting the film, including a visit last year with Billy Graham. Mr. Graham was impressed with his deep sincerity and the commitment to the Gospel that Caviezel and his wife, Kerri, share.

Recently Caviezel met with reporters to discuss the film - and shared how God used a Billy Graham television special to draw him to Jesus Christ.

Q: What was your meeting with Billy Graham like?

A: I got to meet with him and Mel Gibson. And, afterwards, Mel said, "Well, we got to meet Billy Graham. I've always wanted to meet him." We sat with him, and I was profoundly moved.

What moved me the most about him was that he gets out of the way and allows God to come through. It's so easy to give the truth with a bit of your own spin on it. He doesn't. He speaks from his heart. He prays from the heart, and we're forever grateful to him.

Q: I understand a Billy Graham television special had a real impact on you. Can you tell us about that experience?

A: When I heard him speak (on television) years ago, it was in the middle of the night, and I couldn't deny - there was something inside me that said, "This is the truth." I recognized truth from the start, and I had to answer it. It doesn't matter if this person hits you or your father did this to you or whatever, the truth still exists out there. Something I couldn't quite put into words at 15 years old. It gave me a hope.

I saw the truth. And I knew at the end of the day, when I'm dead and gone, it's just me and God standing there, and I have no one else to protect me. All those people that were my beer-drinking buddies that were going to be with me ...? They're gone. Here I am. It's one-on-one now. I had to answer to that.

Q: What was your initial reaction when Mel Gibson offered you this role?

A: Well, you know, initially I wasn't even meeting with Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson shows up, and I was immediately taken aback. He sits down, and he's talking about films in the past on Christ. And when he started talking about that, I realized it, and said, "You want me to play Jesus. This is what this is about." And he went, "Yeah." And I said, "OK."

The next day, he called me up, and he started talking about the film again. Right as I was going to hang up, I said, "Oh my gosh." He said, "What?" And I said, "My initials are J.C., and I'm 33 years old." And he said, "Ah, you're freaking me out!" and hung up the phone.

Q: How do you feel about the Christian community coming together in support of this film?

A: I think it's wonderful. One of the conversations I had with Billy Graham was, you know, there's a lot of things we (Christians) don't agree upon. He said, "Yes, but there are many things that we do agree upon."

Q: Did you have any doubts or concerns about portraying Christ?

A: Yeah, a voice would say, "Do you dare try?" We ask God for forgiveness, but we come short and don't forgive ourselves. But I could still hear that truth of grace, "I love you. I will forgive you. I have forgiven you, Jim. You haven't forgiven yourself."

"But, God, I'm not right for this role. I'm not, you know? You could have chosen better."

"But, Jim, I don't always choose the (most qualified), you see? So do you dare try? Do you take the responsibility that I'm giving to you?"

And offering this role to play Jesus was a great blessing, to ask me to be an actor is a great blessing. But still, with all these things is great fear. And am I getting to the end of my life and saying, "Yeah, I lived life like a coward?" I can't.

I've always been the person that didn't want to get to the end of their life and see what they could have done and been afraid. I don't run on fear. I go on desire and hope, and I took this role as a responsibility. That's how I see it still.

If you have not seen the Passion yet, go see it.
God always makes the right choice ... 2jesus

Back to Living The Word Index Page