Jim Caviezel: ‘The Name of Jesus is Above All Else’

The award-winning actor says his real job is being a "witness to the truth" of Jesus.

By Nancy Flory Published on May 2, 2017

Most people know Jim Caviezel from his role as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. But when it comes to his faith, Caviezel isn’t acting.

From roles in movies like The Count of Monte Cristo and The Thin Red Line to the TV crime drama Person of Interest Caviezel has been guided by his beliefs. The actor talked about his career and relationship with Christ in an extensive new interview with the Polish publication wPolityce.  

Caviezel grew up in a tight-knit Catholic family. His shared that his faith had always been important to him but it became much stronger during the filming of The Passion of the Christ. Caviezel admits that The Passion was the most difficult role he’s ever played. “There is nothing more glorious and at the same time more humbling that this role. Nothing could teach me humility better.”

But playing the role had a price.  

Facing the Rejection

Director Mel Gibson warned Caviezel that he would not work in Hollywood anymore, should he choose to do the role. Even though the movie made over half a billion dollars in global earnings, he still received a backlash for starring as Jesus. “Playing Jesus himself, I faced a lot of criticism and often derision. I had to get on with it somehow.” And it wasn’t simple criticism — it affected his work as well. “All of the sudden, I stopped being one of five most popular actors in the studio and I hadn’t done anything wrong,” he recounted, “I just played Jesus. Was I personally affected by this rejection? Well, everyone has their cross to bear.”

Caviezel attributes Hollywood’s cold shoulder to the secular world that does not understand who Jesus is. “The world changes … but I will not be in this world forever,” he said. “Neither will the producers from Hollywood. At some point, everyone will have to answer for what they have done.”

Even though the film had its critics in Hollywood, millions were touched by the film, and many even converted after seeing it. Last November, Gibson confirmed a sequel is in the works, titled The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection. Caviezel says he is willing to return to the role. “If The Passion of the Christ inspired so many people to do good, why don’t we try again?” 

Caviezel’s Real Job

But working on the set of a movie isn’t Caviezel’s real job. “I’ve never forgotten that the name of Jesus is above all else,” he said. “It is also the most controversial name of all times. Love is controversial and he is love incarnate. Jesus was telling the Romans about love and they killed him because of that. …My duty was not only to show it all on the screen. My real duty is to live in accordance with the Gospel every day and to give witness to the truth.”

While he continues to act in movies, Caviezel doesn’t do it for the money. “I do it for love. It’s my Christian mission.” And as for living out that love, Caviezel said he receives “constant empowerment” from Mass at church. “That’s where I can meet Jesus. And it’s not simply about having the symbolic wafer. It’s about an actual transformation. … Every day I pray to die with Jesus in my heart, not to ever abandon him.”


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