Six months before being asked to play to role of Jesus in the Passion, a stranger walked up to the unknown actor and told him, "you are going to play Jesus". The actor shrugged it off. Mel Gibson had kept his idea a secret and only a few people knew about the movie idea that would be a life-changing experience for all who would see it.
James Caviezel already knew what was happening when we was auditioning for something else and Mel Gibson showed up. James looked into Mel's eyes and said, "you want me to play Jesus, don't you?" Gibson was shocked. Then the actor added that his initials are J.C. and he is 33 years old, the same age Jesus was when He was crucified.
Caviezel really gets into his roles. He ponders what the people must have been thinking. In order to play Jesus, he opened up his heart and got in touch with what he was feeling. Mel Gibson knew that if this actor agreed to play Jesus, it would require much sacrifice. The actor stated that he knew this was the cross that he was supposed to carry, no matter what sacrifice he would be asked to make.
During the filming of the "Passion", Caviezel injured his shoulder, got hypothermia, and was struck by lightning. He also experienced the same negative emotions that Jesus must have felt as he was publicly ridiculed and rejected. Because Caviezel accepted his role, countless people came to know Jesus.
I am thankful to know so many people that have carried their crosses for the benefit of others. As I write this, I am thinking about my cousins who are mourning the loss of their dad or who are missing their mom. I am thinking about my very special Aunt Peggy, the last one that my dad talked to before he lost the ability to speak. My father's words are being repeated at this moment from Heaven as he stands next to his parents and in the company of his brother-in-law, William. Also next to him are Dickie, Jim, Paul and Mary. He repeats his last words he said on earth, "Peggy, I love you."
These special relatives are in Heaven now. They cheer for us as we willingly carry our crosses. Just like James Caveziel, we are being asked to play the part of Jesus. It may not be easy, but it is the only way for the world to know Jesus up close and personal.
Check out the interview with Caveziel below as he shares his experience playing Jesus. His uncanny appearance and nature remind me of my relatives, not to mention the character he portrayed...