Jim Caviezel on the Sin Pastors and Actors Struggle With

Jim Caviezel

Actor Jim Caviezel said he wants to be liked but that’s not his primary goal. He told ChurchLeaders, “The greatest sin of many pastors and actors is wanting to be liked…so you have to ask yourself if you want to be loved by many or loved by one (God). I talk about myself and what I want to do and my goals, but when I come back to Jesus and what he wants me to do, I have to be obedient to that.”

Caviezel stars in the upcoming movie Paul, Apostle of Christ. The faith-based film opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, March 23. He said playing the role of Luke taught him a deep lesson about forgiveness.

The movie follows the epic story of Paul, a man who went from persecutor of the church to a follower of Christ.

The movie is set in a Roman prison where Paul, played by James Faulkner, is awaiting execution under Emperor Nero. Mauritius, the ambitious prison prefect, played by Olivier Martinez, can hardly see what threat this broken man poses. Once he was Saul of Tarsus, the high-ranking and brutal killer of Christians. Now his faith rattles Rome.

At great risk, Luke the Physician (Caviezel) visits the aged Paul to comfort and tend to him—and to question, to transcribe and to smuggle out Paul’s letters to the growing community of believers. Amid Nero’s inhuman persecution, these men and women will spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and change the world.

Caviezel told ChurchLeaders that playing Luke gave him specific insight into how God would have us all respond to being wronged. “How I feel when I see a wrong, what I want to do and what God wants me to do, those are two completely different things.” Caviezel believes that struggle is born in pride. “Pride keeps us from experiencing being more whole with Christ mentally, physically and in the spirit.”

Caviezel, who starred as Jesus in the 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ, said his faith in Jesus is real and sustains him in a difficult career.

“I need him every day. I feel the lack of love in the world and in myself at times and I’m looking for purpose like everyone else. In this business that doesn’t suffer fools, when the world kicks you, I know that I have my personal Savior right there with me and he feels the pain that I feel.”

The veteran actor said he keeps grounded in Hollywood by knowing Christ is all he has.

“I look to Peter in these words, ‘Lord, where would I go? You have the words of everlasting life.’ I have nowhere else to go.”

Playing Jesus would be intimidating and challenging enough but Caviezel said he almost died during the filming of the Passion:

“I thought I would put the makeup on and prepare the same way and we would shoot it in studio and suddenly I realized I was in a fight for my life. It was very cold and I got hypothermia. The makeup burned my skin and I caught pneumonia in both lungs. I was struck by lightning and eventually had two heart surgeries including open-heart.”

Playing Luke wasn’t as dangerous or life threatening but that’s not to say matters of life and death aren’t addressed. Caviezel said, “I try to bring as many people into God’s fold as possible.”

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Bob Ditmer
Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.