Evangelistic “The Jesus Film” Being Revised for 35th Anniversary

The Jesus Film

Film critics have declared 2014 as the “year of the Bible” with the success of films like “Son of God,” “Noah” and “Heaven is For Real.”

These blockbusters scored millions at the box office. Upcoming films “Exodus” and “Mary, Mother of Christ” are also expected to do well when they hit theaters in December.

But it is a more than 30-year-old biblical film that has landed a place in Guinness Book of World of Records.

A Powerful History

Campus Crusade for Christ’s “The Jesus Film” has been translated into more languages than any film in history. It’s also helped lead more than 200 million people to Christ.

The 1979 production is based on the Gospel of Luke. CRU Executive Director Erick Schenkel recently spoke with CBN News to discuss the film’s history and its future.

“At first it had a theater run in the United States. We thought, ‘Great! People are getting to see the story of Jesus,'” Schenkel told CBN News.

“But then as we saw him use it in language after language around the world and saw the potential and then began to build strategies around that, it has just been a big part of Campus Crusade’s work globally,” he added.

Before his rise to executive director, Schenkel spent 11 years in Central Asia working with “The Jesus Film.”

“They didn’t think Jesus was for them, but when they saw the Jesus Film in their own language, all the Central Asian languages, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and saw Jesus speaking their language, they understood that Jesus saw them and loved them,” Schenkel said, recalling that time.

“And so we saw movements of people coming to Christ in every one of these people groups,” he said.

Inside CRU’s Orlando offices is a map that helps tell the story of “The Jesus Film.” It has been translated in more than 1,200 languages and viewed around the world more than six billion times.

“The amazing thing is there still places in the world where when we translate this film, it becomes the only film in the language of the people watching it — 1,200 language translations,” he said.

“[For] a very large percentage for those people, it is the only film they have ever had in their language, where they see the people on the screen, speaking the words that they speak every day,” he added. “The words their mother spoke to them when they were sitting on their mother’s knee as a child.”

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Efrem Graham

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