Jonathan Roumie, the 49-year-old actor who plays Jesus Christ in the series “The Chosen,” opened up to Fox News Digital about how reconnecting with his Christian faith during filming has brought him both peace and inner strength.
Speaking about his research into Jesus’s practices, Roumie said he embraced the savior’s habit of isolating himself in prayer and contemplation when pressure from nonbelievers weighed on his shoulders.
“I think when Jesus felt the pressure of life, of human life, often He would go off on His own to pray and get recharged and just find quiet time. I do this. I find that doing the same thing — going off to pray by myself and just spend time with God in prayer alone — is monumentally impactful to me.
“I was trying so hard to control my own career,” he added, acknowledging that taking the role of Christ reminded him that his acting abilities carry transformative powers for viewers in need of his religious role model.
“This commitment, this responsibility, this gift that I’ve been given — while challenging at times — ultimately is for my greater good,” he said, “and for the potential for other people to find some sort of inspiration or some sort of connection or a return, in many cases, a return to faith.”
The eight-part series, available on Netflix, examines the life and teachings of Christ through the viewpoints of those who knew him during his short 33-year life. The episodes retell the stories of the four Gospels which cover the three final years of his life when Christ recruits his 12 disciples and performs many of the miracles that inspired the birth of Christianity.
Despite first appearing in 2019, “The Chosen” has surged near the top of the streaming service’s top TV shows and garnered a 98% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roumie said he will never forget his perilous financial fortunes before collecting the big bucks that came with starring in a runaway hit.
“I felt that I was trying so hard to control my career, to do all the things that I thought I needed to do, to check all the boxes,” said Roumie. This included “generating auditions, trying to work side jobs, you know, to make ends meet, keep the income coming in.”
“It was like, the more I try, the harder I tried to make everything run smoothly, the more chaotic it got,” he said.
In the docuseries, Roumie admits his dwindling finances were so troublesome that he hid them from his family out of shame.
“I got on my knees, and I prayed. I said, ‘Look, God, I give everything to you. If you want this to work, you’re going to have to help me figure out a way to survive, to find food for tomorrow. And I’m not going to worry about it anymore.’” He added. “The point was that I committed to not having control over it anymore.
“When I did that, I think that’s the thing that changed for me. My life, from that moment, has never been the same.”
Three months later, he was cast for the series’ leading role.
“Once [people] let go of the reins and just kind of put their trust in the divine, in God – He will basically change your entire life the way He did mine,” Roumie said.