In the overwhelmingly popular series, “The Chosen,” Nick Shakoour plays the role of Zebedee—father to disciples James and John. The actor recently told of being transformed on the set of the series, going from doubting that God even existed to embracing a number of encounters in the presence of God.
In a 700 Club interview with Ashley Key, Shakoour shared that the role gave him insight into being a father, as the actor doesn’t have children of his own. He also told of his upbringing within the Greek Orthodox Church in Beirut, Lebanon. Shakoour’s grandfather was a Greek priest.
Without experience as a father or of God himself, Shakoour found himself ill-equipped to portray Zebedee with accuracy. The role was “downloaded to me from God,” Shakoour said.
Nick Shakoour of ‘The Chosen’ Shares His Own Encounters With God
Shakoour briefly told of his upbringing in the Greek Orthodox Church. What’s more, being from Beirut, Lebanon, his family held onto burdens for generations in the “war-torn country.”
“As life does, it takes you through a series of challenges and trials, and it causes your heart to start to turn into a rock. And, you start to experience an inner battle,” the actor explained.
Shakoour continued, “When I first signed up to do ‘The Chosen,’ I had a conversation with God, and I told him, ‘You probably don’t even exist.’”
Shakoour described feeling like a black hole within him was opening up. He felt a strong urge to call out to God. Two set designers on the show invited him to a conference, and Shakoour was beyond skeptical. He didn’t quite know what to think when he saw people “twirling around like ballerinas and swinging side-to-side.”
During the conference, he prayed for God to remove the burden that had been passed down from generations within his family. Within 20 minutes, he said, the burden was gone, and someone within the group told Shakoour that he was praying for him. “God told me to tell you that by showing up tonight, you broke your family’s generational curse,” the friend said.
Throughout the interview, Shakoour became emotional when telling of his transforming encounters with God.
When he was led to give up all of his idols, nine people laid hands on Shakoour, and anointed him with oil. “I felt God’s presence, and it was frightening. So I understood what it meant to have the fear of the Lord,” he recalled.
He continued, “From the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, it was like fire was passing through and burning everything that I had in me away.”
“I didn’t feel like myself anymore. And since then, it’s been one encounter after the next,” Shakoour said.
Something Special Spread Throughout the Set—Starting with Zebedee’s House
A set construction worker reminded Shakoour that the workers wrote Scripture verses on the walls of the set houses as they were being built. The worker asked, “You know whose home it started in?” Since Shakoour didn’t know, the worker answered, “It started in Zebedee’s home. It started in your home and then the Scripture spread to the other characters’ homes.”
After his own encounters and now this close connection to God’s work through the portrayal of Zebedee, Shakoour was overwhelmed.
“You know, we got together as a crew when we broke ground to build those homes. We prayed for one of the actors to receive the Holy Spirit and would become the seed to spread the gospel,” the worker said. He then pointed to Shakoour and added, “You’re gonna be that seed.”
‘The Chosen’ Continues To Gain Fans As It Tells the Story of Jesus
“The Chosen” is currently filming its fourth season. The series continues to break many crowdfunding records and has gained a loyal following. While it has always streamed for free into homes and churches, those in prison now have access to “The Chosen,” thanks to a closed-circuit service. And recently, “The Chosen” won a K-Love Fan Award for its impact.
Dallas Jenkins, the director of “The Chosen,” has received significant criticism throughout the creation and filming of the series. Jenkins shared that he doesn’t care about pleasing other people, but, instead, he focuses on pleasing God.
“I don’t worry about misperception or misunderstandings. I worry about how things are,” the director said.
After winning an award for the series, Jenkins said, “Jesus is the answer, regardless of whether we’re dealing with new types of problems or the same that we did 2,000 years ago. Jesus is the only answer either way, and that’s what the show is doing for people.”
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.