Since its release in 1979, the Jesus film has been watched by more than 6 billion people, making it the most-watched movie in history. Today it’s suggested that every 4 seconds someone becomes a Christian after watching the film. That’s 21,600 people per day, 648,000 per month, more than 7.8 million per year, resulting in a total of 225 million people to date who’ve come to faith through the Jesus film.
I was surprised by the revelation that Brian Deacon, the actor who played Jesus in the movie, isn’t a believer himself. “I’m still searching,” Brian told me on my radio program. “I probably got as close to becoming a true believer while making that film as I ever have done,” he said. Yet, he remains unconvinced. Ironically, he’s played a part in 225 million people coming to faith in Jesus while having no faith himself.
Brian isn’t alone as an unbelieving evangelist. Jesus once healed a blind beggar (John 9). The means were unconventional—saliva, mud, and a dip in the creek. When the beggar returned with sight, his community plied him for answers (vv.8-10). He told them that a man called Jesus had healed him, though he didn’t know much more than that (v.11). The beggar was dragged before the Pharisees, who were incensed at Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. “I don’t know whether He is a sinner” (v.25), the former sightless man said to the Pharisees regarding Jesus. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” Later he even asked the Pharisees if they wanted to become Jesus’ disciples too! (v.27).
The beggar evangelized his community and religious leaders for Jesus, but only later did he discover Jesus’ identity and come to personal faith (vv.35-38).
It’s a story that I hope and pray becomes Brian Deacon’s story too.
Some say only committed Christians should play the roles in films about Jesus and the Bible. Do you agree? How does it inspire you to realize that God uses unbelieving evangelists too?
Taken from “Our Daily Journey”