PARIS, France – Walking along Paris' famed Champs-Élysées this week, actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the television series "The Chosen," tells CBN News that he's humbled by how God is using the show to touch millions of people around the world.
"Do you often pinch yourself realizing the magnitude of the role that you are playing and how well the show has done?" CBN News asked.
"I don't know if I pinch myself, I'm more 'bow my head to the ground' because I never feel that I'm worthy of the things that are happening as a result," Roumie replied.
Three years after its premiere episode, the series now hits television screens for the first time across France airing on one of this country's top TV channels.
"To be on a major network is a first," said Katherine Warnock, one of the show's producers. "We love our platform, we love having a free app that's available to the whole world, but to be embraced by Canal + has been such an honor."
Roumie and cast members joined 500 people for a showing of "The Chosen" at a Paris movie theater ahead of next week's broadcast, many watching it for the first time.
"The intimacy between the disciples and Jesus, I like that very much," said one attendee.
"It was different from other films about Jesus, it was just fantastic I can say," said another.
"The Chosen" is the first-ever multi-season TV show about the life of Jesus. And even though it's free to watch on their app, fans have given more than $40 million towards the production budget, making it the largest crowd-funded media venture in entertainment history.
Sixteen episodes of "The Chosen" have so far been translated into 50 languages. And as of today's taping, more than 321 million people around the world have watched the series.
Angel Studios, which handles distribution, plans to dub the series in the top 25 languages that are spoken in the world with hopes of initially reaching a billion people.
"We can't reach a billion just in English, so to reach a billion we have to unlock more languages," Jared Geesey with Angel Studios told CBN News.
Éric Célérier, one of France's prominent evangelicals, is praying the show will unlock hearts and minds of his countrymen. "My hope is that people will connect, not with the show, but with Jesus through the characters in the show," Célérier told CBN News in Paris.
Célérier has mobilized hundreds of French pastors and Catholic leaders to hold follow-up ministry and discipleship programs over the course of The Chosen's seven-season broadcast.
An additional 3,500 Christians have volunteered to hold small groups in their homes and other locations to discuss the series. "We are preparing the fields, we are preparing the hearts with season one, but I hope that season after season people will connect more and more with Jesus," Célérier said.
That's Roumie prayer as well, posting on Instagram that he believes "God is tilling the soil and sowing seeds for a fertile revival."
"Is that what you hope will happen as a result of the showing of The Chosen?" CBN News asked during our interview in Paris.
"Yeah, I think it's already happening, and I think we are an additional element of that story and of that accomplishment, by God, and I'm just honored to be a part of it," Roumie said.
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