How well do we know the face of Jesus?
In a classic episode of "The Catholic Talk Show," Ryan Scheel, Ryan DellaCrosse, Father Rich Pagano, and special guest actor Jonathan Roumie dive deep into Christ's appearance throughout history, from early Christian art to Hollywood depictions.
Their key takeaway?
Our commonly accepted visual representation of Christ may have been influenced by Roman ideals of masculinity, cultural perceptions, and the portrayal by actors like Roumie.
Considering the debate over Jesus' hair length, historical records and Roman coins reveal how Romans perceived Jews and their typical appearance.
Contrasting the short hairstyles of Roman men with the longer hair of Nazarites, a religious sect of that era, Scheel says, “A lot of the early art of Jesus and the depictions of Jesus were not intended to depict what he physically looked like...it was meant to depict a theological truth.”
The highlight of their conversation, however, contains stories from Jonathan Roumie’s portrayals of Jesus in various projects like "The Chosen."
"Jonathan, when I look at your face man, I feel a lot of peace in my heart," Father Pagano exclaims.
Roumie's spiritual experiences while stepping into the shoes of Jesus are touching and revelatory. His deep connection with devotion to the Divine Mercy is especially powerful!
He shares how after just three days, his prayers were answered with the miraculous appearance of an image of the Divine Mercy.
"I always thought to myself, well, I would love to have an image of the Divine Mercy from my apartment.”
Roumie also explains how his preparation for roles transcends acting.
"For me, playing Christ has become something of a ministry and an evangelization tool.”
He even adopted a unique Middle Eastern accent to portray Christ, and learned to pray the "Our Father" in Aramaic!
"We want to try to reach as many people as possible with this and just introduce Christ and His sacrifice to the world at large,” Roumie says.
Between historical depictions and present-day portrayals, from Roman coins to Hollywood, one thing remains clear: the face of Christ continues to inspire, transform, and beckon hearts toward Him.
Check out the classic episode below: