News Articles

Facts & incidents evidence ‘Jesus’ film’s effectiveness

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–From 1994-97, teams using “Jesus,” New Testament distribution and other outreach methods shared Jesus with an estimated 156 million people in part of the Muslim world.
That’s but one of countless facts and incidents underscoring the “Jesus” film’s effectiveness in relaying the gospel worldwide.
— Up to 500,000 people saw “Jesus” in one day at a mammoth open-air showing in Manila, the Philippines, in January 1998. They watched the film on 18 separate screens and listened to it through big speakers or on a local radio station that received the audio track from a production truck and beamed it to the field where the throng gathered.
— “Jesus” has been shown on national television in Iraq, Myanmar, Spain, the West Bank and Gaza, among other lands. Yasser Arafat accepted a copy of the Arabic-language version shown by the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation. As many as 10 million Latin Americans saw “Jesus” on television during the 1996 Easter season.
— “Jesus” was the hottest seller at the 1997 Cairo book fair in Egypt, where it was packaged with the New Testament. Some neighboring distributors at the fair — including several Islamic publishers — asked the Bible society sponsoring it if they could sell the “Jesus” packet at their stands, too.
— An Indonesian pastor started showing “Jesus” a decade ago and has records to show that at least 42,900 people have seen the film through his efforts. More than 2,000 new believers have been baptized and 61 churches planted.
— In India, film teams encountered a Hindu group “vehemently against all things Christian.” After learning the “Jesus” film was in their own local language, however, they excitedly arranged for a film showing for 750 people.
— Some strangely dressed people appeared one day at a Christian meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. They were from the Gobi Altai, a region barely touched by the gospel. After somehow seeing the “Jesus” film, they had been meeting in a village leader’s house to read the Bible. When, they asked, could someone come and start a church?
— A film team arrived on a small island in Borneo to show “Jesus.” The entire population turned out for the screening; thousands more came on boats from neighboring islands. The audience count surpassed 10,000.
— Deeply moved by the crucifixion of Christ as depicted in “Jesus,” a Hindu priest in Orissa, India, realized Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient atonement for sin. He burned his idols and asked a pastor to cut off the long braids that identified him as a Hindu holy man. Now he shows “Jesus” in neighboring villages.
— In Ethiopia, two heavily armed rival clans came to a “Jesus” showing and warily sat on opposite sides of the screen, which could be viewed from either side. By the film’s end, many had put down their weapons, crossed over and embraced their enemies. A new church includes members of both clans.
— A Southern Baptist volunteer in India shared the gospel with 20 people crowded into a hut with an antenna sticking out the top. One of the listeners interrupted the volunteer to report that the family had watched “Jesus” on television only two hours before he arrived. “What does all this mean?” the listener asked. The volunteer explained — then led all 20 family members to faith in Christ.
— In Myanmar, a man heard the “Jesus” film was about to be shown across the river from his village. He couldn’t find a boat making the crossing — so he swam. It took 30 minutes, but “it was worth the swim, because I came to know who Jesus Christ is,” he said. He decided to follow him as Savior and Lord.
— “Trimo,” a Muslim man in Indonesia, was so outraged about a “Jesus” film showing that he came with five recruits and threw cow dung at the screen. Later, however, Trimo and his wife dreamed of a cross full of light. They searched out the film’s sponsors, asked forgiveness for what Trimo had done, and found mercy in Christ. They began the first house church in their village and now use the film in outreach.
— Local police tried to shut down a “Jesus” showing at a theater in Central Asia. The audience, said a film coordinator, “started yelling at them, booed ’em down and finally drove them out of the theater. The team went on and showed the film with no repercussions. It showed us the hunger of the people — even in this very Muslim area.”
— After seeing the film in a drought-stricken village in India, 200 people became Christians. “Someone suggested they pray and ask God to give them rain,” said a report. “Two hours after they prayed, dark clouds gathered and they had the greatest shower that year. This sort of confirmed to them that Jesus is the real God.”
— After a film showing in India, a follower of the god Ayappa dreamed all his idols — including Ayappa — stood in a circle testifying that Jesus alone is God. The man and his family turned to Christ.