Billy Graham: Jim Caviezel’s ‘Person of Interest’

By   •   May 1, 2012

When fans tune in to the “Person of Interest,” they may not realize that actor Jim Caviezel, who plays crime fighter John Reese, credits Billy Graham with showing him God’s truth at the age of 15.

Yes, Jim Caviezel was Jesus in the 2004 film, Passion of the Christ, a role that comes along once in a life time. But “B.C.,” the actor played memorable parts in movies like Pay it Forward and Frequency.

These days Caviezel is seen most often on the small screen, starring in the hit CBS series “Person of Interest” (Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET), in which he plays John Reese, an ex-CIA hit man who turns crime fighter in partnership with a computer genius played by Michael Emerson.

With anticipation building for tonight’s season finale, we thought it would be fun to dust off this interview from 2004, when Caviezel talked about the impact of Billy Graham just before stepping on stage at the Rose Bowl during the November 2004 Greater Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade.

After their meeting, Mr. Graham said he was impressed with Caviezel’s deep sincerity and the commitment to the Gospel that Jim and his wife, Kerri, share.

Q: You first met Billy Graham during the filming of Passion of the Christ. What was your meeting like?

Caviezel: I’ve always wanted to meet him and I was profoundly moved. What moved me the most about him was that he gets out of the way and allows God to come through. It’s so easy to give the truth with a bit of your own spin on it. He doesn’t. He speaks from his heart. He prays from the heart, and we’re forever grateful to him.

Q: We understand a Billy Graham television special had a real impact on you. Can you tell us about that experience?

Caviezel: When I heard him speak [on television] years ago, it was in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t deny—there was something inside me that said, “This is the truth.” I recognized truth from the start, and I had to answer it. It doesn’t matter if this person hits you or your father did this to you or whatever, the truth still exists out there. Something I couldn’t quite put into words at 15 years old. It gave me a hope.

I saw the truth. And I knew at the end of the day, when I’m dead and gone, it’s just me and God standing there, and I have no one else to protect me. All those people that were my beer-drinking buddies that were going to be with me … ? They’re gone. Here I am. It’s one-on-one now. I had to answer to that.

Q: Did you have any doubts or concerns about portraying Christ?

Caviezel: Yes, a voice would say, “Do you dare try?” We ask God for forgiveness, but we come short and don’t forgive ourselves. But I could still hear that truth of grace, “I love you. I will forgive you. I have forgiven you, Jim. You haven’t forgiven yourself.”

“But, God, I’m not right for this role. I’m not, you know? You could have chosen better.”

“But, Jim, I don’t always choose the [most qualified], you see? So do you dare try? Do you take the responsibility that I’m giving to you?”

And offering this role to play Jesus was a great blessing, to ask me to be an actor is a great blessing. But still, with all these things is great fear. And am I getting to the end of my life and saying, “Yeah, I lived life like a coward”? I can’t.

I’ve always been the person that didn’t want to get to the end of their life and see what they could have done and been afraid. I don’t run on fear. I go on desire and hope, and I took this role as a responsibility. That’s how I see it still.

Q: Do you think that it’s difficult to be a Christian in Hollywood right now?

Caviezel: I think that in these times, of course it is. But anything that I undergo, I look at as redemptive suffering. In other words, the pain that I go through [is] for the conversion of sinners. And I ask God that he could use my suffering for that. It’s part of the cross you take up when you choose to believe in Him…we all have this desire to want to be liked…but what we should be asking God is the desire for humility.

Q: Do you have a favorite Bible verse that inspires you?

Caviezel: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” — Philippians 4:13.


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  1. Tom Murphy says:

    I love just about any actor or actress that I see Jesus actively working in and through. I’m just blown away by Jim Caviezel! Everything that I see him working in just astounds me. From looking at his character in Person of Interest, to When the Game Stands Tall, he has that Godly character.
    One has to look for that person exemplify Christ. The Bible says, (You) let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. We are to be the lights that Jesus wants us to be. We should shine for Him in this dark world, and by our good deeds point others to Christ. The fields are white unto harvest, who will go and bring them (the unsaved) in?
    Will it be you by your good deeds? Go!

  2. don vest says:

    Caviezel’s character shows up in his acting. Refreshing!
    I remember my mom watching, with me, crusade in Berlin-back in 50’s I think.
    I feel I’m losing MY FAITH.
    Please pray for me !

    1. BGEA says:

      Don, we have passed on your comment to our team so we can respond.

  3. Keith Benjamin says:

    Jim keep up the good work for Jesus, you have an awesome testimony.

  4. Richard Freeman says:

    I feel that Jim’s being offered the part of Jesus Christ was as he believes – Divine Province!

  5. Debra says:

    They are both men of GOD and I hope they can lead us through these terrible times.

  6. John Beck says:

    I’m highly impressed with Mr Caviezels testimony and his open boldness in proclaiming The Lord Jesus Christ.

  7. kathryn insonia says:

    came across Jim caviezel’s video on youtube and was very moved by it, even before I knew anything about him I was in llove with him from watching Person of interest, his voice is so gentle and good.

  8. John Robert Oduwole says:

    God is faithful! Our God cannot lie (Number 23:19) He is an example of a true believers that is not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a pastor, I hope we all could pay heed to his message of forgetting self and allowing Christ to take over and take charge as we pray and speak from the heart

  9. Lea Hodnett says:

    It is uplifting and encouraging to see an actor or actress who isn’t afraid to say, “Yes, I’m a Christian. I became a Christian when I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and save me.” Thank you for all you’ve done.

  10. Ruth Muyskens says:

    WOW what a wonderful man of God. What a terrific example to us all who don’t have to live out our faith in Hollywood! I am so impressed with him and his strong faith! What a awesome role model who gives inspiration to all believers!