The actor had reached rock bottom and, despite considerable effort, says he was powerless to change it himself.
With The Chosen having garnered 127 million views in more than 180 countries around the world, it is safe to say that Jonathan Roumie is well on his way to legitimate celebrity status. The 46-year-old New Yorker, a devout Believer who calls himself a born-again Catholic, plays Jesus in the hit streaming series, which is now in its second season.
He and show creator/director Dallas Jenkins - a fellow Christian - have combined forces to deftly blend the divine and human aspects of Jesus' character for the production. In a social media livestream, Roumie acknowledges that "God is showing us where to go."
"At the end of the day we just want to serve the vision that best gets people to identify with Jesus in a way that they maybe haven't before."
The success of the program, the all-time crowdfunding champion among media projects, is something Roumie does not take for granted. Several years ago, and before the show, he was living in Los Angeles and says he had "pretty much hit rock-bottom in a lot of ways: emotionally, financially, spiritually."
Despite "juggling six or seven jobs," Roumie was in debt, his checking account was overdrafted, he "had no food" and wasn't sure how he'd pay his upcoming bills. The straights were dire and the situation beyond his power to fix. A Christian since childhood, Roumie decided to reach out to the Lord, and he recounts part of his prayer to fully surrender himself.
"I'm going to leave all of these anxieties, all of these worries, all of these problems that I have. I'm going to leave them with you and I'm not going to worry about it and I'm just going to trust you to take care of it."
And did God ever move dramatically. That very day, Roumie says he "literally received a financial miracle in my life" when three unexpected checks came in the mail. It allowed him to right his financial position. God, however, was not done: three months later the actor landed his role as star of The Chosen. It still makes him marvel at the Lord's loving faithfulness.
"I scratch my head every day and thank God for everything He's given me. I take nothing for granted and am grateful to be here."
We are grateful, too, for the part Roumie is playing on The Chosen because he handles it with aplomb. The show has thus far released three episodes of the eight that are planned for season two and you can watch free of charge via this link to the program's website.
That social media livestream with the actor is also worth checking out. It runs about an hour and Roumie talks about his working relationship with Jenkins, reveals how he came up with his accent for the Jesus character, and gets a surprise visit from fellow cast member Jordan Walker Ross (Little James), which takes an unexpected and amusing turn (that hits at about the 40-minute mark).