The Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel delivered power remarks to the students of Liberty University. The successful Hollywood actor beloved by Christians for his roles in hugely successful faith-based films, Caviezel’s latest role is playing Luke the Evangelist in the new film, “Paul, Apostle of Christ.”
In his inspirational convocation speech, Caviezel talked of his own faith journey, and urged students to stay strong in their devotion to Chirst. He explained how, at just 19-years-old, the Lord called him to pursue acting.
“I felt this love that I had never felt before, this peace I never felt before,” he recalled. “I heard God say, ‘I’d like you to be an actor.’ … I did not know where to go. I had a call to be an actor, but it was going to take Him to teach me and bring me to the right teachers, the right films to do.”
Well, the Lord certainly provided. While Caviezel is beloved by Christians for his bold faith, taking on the role of Jesus in “The Passion,” he has seen mainstream success as well. He stared in box office hits like “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Frequency,” as well as on television in CBS’s hit series “Person of Interest,” where he was nominated for two “Peoples Choice Awards.”
Caviezel remembers getting the call from Mel Gibson, the producer of “The Passion.” “Mel told me, ‘If you take this part [of Jesus], you may not work in this town again.’ “I felt fear come into me. That’s one thing about our faith. When that [fear] happens, that’s not Jesus.”
Deciding to shun fear and trust completely in the Lord, he accepted the role that would change his life forever.
“I said, ‘My initials are J.C., and I’m 33 years old,'” the actor recalled. “[Mel said], ‘You’re freaking me out,’ and he hung up the phone.”
With a budget of just $30 million, the Biblical epic grossed over $600 million and won several awards including the “People’s Choice Award” for Favorite Motion Picture Drama.
Then, the Caviezel offered some sage advice for the thousands of students gathered to hear him speak.
“God is going to put you in different places in your life,” he told the audience. “The world is going to look to you for hope, and you’re going to suffer for it.” Crucially, Jim reminded his attentive audience that the Lord will never leave nor forsake them as they choose to live a sacrificial life for His glory.
“You’re going to be given a power and an opportunity. You’re here for a reason,” Caviezel noted. “Jesus said, ‘If they persecute you, know they persecuted me first.'”
Caviezel has made headlines for his determination to live out his Christian faith in an increasingly sexualized Hollywood movie industry. During a love scene with Jennifer Lopez in “Angel Eyes,” Jim requested that she wore a shirt. Then, in a similar scene alongside Ashley Judd in “High Crimes,” he refused to strip off.
When asked about these incidences, Caviezel responded: “I do love scenes – but not ones with gratuitous sex. … And it’s not just about my wife, although that’s important. It’s sin, pure and simple. I mean, it’s wrong. … It’s awkward.”
Check out the trailer for his new movie, “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” which is set to hit theatres March 23: