Zebedee Actor From 'The Chosen' Breaks Down in Tears, Says Holy Spirit Hit Him 'Like Fire'
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The actor who plays the boisterously happy father of two of Jesus' disciples in "The Chosen" is opening up about how the role was "downloaded to him by God."
At first, Nick Shakoour thought he bombed his audition. Instead, he was awarded the role of Zebedee, the father of James and John - the biblical "sons of thunder."
Nick told CBN's The 700 Club how his character has touched the lives of others and led to his own powerful encounter with the Lord that has radically transformed his life.
In an iconic scene from "The Chosen", Zebedee's sons have just been called to follow Jesus. He tells James and John, "Go... you've just been called by the man we prayed for our entire lives... Go now!"
CBN's Ashley Key asked Nick how this role, playing the father of James and John, has affected him personally.
Nick: "It gave me insight that I never thought I'd have into what it's like to be a dad. I'm not a dad in real life. But when I stepped into the role, and I've told people it was, he was downloaded to me from God like it was a literal download, when I got the script. I didn't do script analysis. I actually, I was careless in the audition and I thought I bombed it."
"And playing him has given me a strong taste of what it's like to step into the shoes of a loving father. And that's why I kind of, I give all credence and credit to God because I don't know what it's like. So how am I playing that so well? If it isn't him inspiring me to do that?"
Ashley: "Talk about your faith. Has your faith really grown as you've been a part of 'The Chosen'?"
Nick: "When I was younger, my grandfather was a Greek priest. So I grew up Greek Orthodox. But 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."
"When I first signed up to do 'The Chosen,' I had a conversation with God and told Him, 'You probably don't even exist' because of where I was at. And something in me opened up. It was like a black hole started to open up and swallow me alive. And I heard my heart call out, say, 'If you don't call out to God right now, this is about to get really bad.'"
"And I'm, I'm invited to this conference by two of our construction blueprint designers Seth and Brandon. And I thought, well, what is it? And they're like, 'You know, it's we get together, we pray.' And I'm like, ok, and my heart said, you should go."
"And so I went, I walk in and I'm like, ok, people are twirling around like ballerinas and swing side to side. This is so weird and I was kind of jaded at that point. So that's how I was seeing all of it. I was like, ok, we're an hour in, I'm gonna put my head down and I'm gonna pray and I started in my heart asking God to remove this burden that was, I feel, transferred to me from my family because of the war-torn country that we're from in Beirut, Lebanon."
"And so I said, 'Lord, whatever this is, I'm carrying, I want it off of me.' Twenty minutes doesn't even go by, my buddy Seth who invited me, his son comes over behind me from like 40 ft away, taps me on the shoulder and says, 'I want you to know I was praying for you from back there. And God told me to tell you that,' it's crazy, 'by showing up tonight, you broke your family's generational curse.'"
"And that was the first kind of like peg that knocked me off my, my balance and I lost it. I was like of all the things he could have told me, what. And then later on the pastor, she got up on stage and said, OK, I want everybody to get on their knees and, and bury their idols. And I stood there and I was like, I don't have any idols. And then the heart came in and this voice came through really strongly this time and said, 'Yeah, you do, actually. Your acting career, your voice over your mom, your dad, your brother-in-law, your sisters, your sister, your other sister's boyfriend, your bank accounts. Oh, your Jeep Commander, your car, da da, da, da, da, da. And you've put them all before Me.' And I was like, ouch, that really hurt."
"I got on my knee, and for the first time in my life, I genuinely gave them all to God. As in, 'This is my offering to You,' because I've been on this show, 'I've been hearing about You. I've been hearing about these parables and I just want to be with You now.' So I gave Him everything."
Fighting back his own tears, he continued, "It amalgamated into nine people, placing their hands on me, kind of ganging up on me and they're, one of their elders coming up with anointing oil, like the irony... anointing my forehead, my palms. Next thing I know he was praying over me in tongues and from, 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 to where I was gonna ask them to call 911. It was like, whoa, I'm getting dizzy, what's going on? And it was frightening."
"It wasn't like, oh, I felt good and it was... No, it was, I felt God's presence and it was frightening. So I, I understood what He meant. All the fear of the Lord. It was like, oh yeah, He could kill me at any second like this. If he wanted to, He could just evaporate me. And it, it got to a point where I felt like I was being microwaved and vibrated at the same time and then eventually just dipped into water before my body could handle any, couldn't handle any more burning."
"I felt like my skin was gonna explode off my body and then I was submerged in an ocean and then all the prayers went very muffled. And then all of a sudden I was just pulled up, it felt. And then everything was just still and it felt so weird because I didn't feel like myself anymore."
"And since then it's been one encounter after the next and it went from, 'Oh, I have faith to, I don't have faith anymore. I don't need it because like I met Him.' And I jokingly said, 'like I know the guy, like I know Him,' because He's in me and He's around me and all I have to do is address Him and He's literally right there. He's literally right there. And I've never, I've never experienced God like that. So it took it from, from, you know, from what it was to a relationship where it's like now I want nothing but to be around Him all day long."
Ashley: "So we heard that something really special, really amazing and cool happened in Zebedee's house. Tell us more about that."
Nick: "So after the encounter happens, I'm just discombobulated because I'm, I'm searching for the anger and the frustration and the hurt and I'm like, it's not there anymore."
"Two of the construction guys hear what happened to me. John Hart and Michael Singh, and they, they, they were the lead construction guys for the biblical town that we shot in."
"And John tells me, he says, 'You know, you've heard that we've written scripture all over the walls in the homes, right? Do you know it was one of my guys that heard from God to write the scripture on the walls.' And I said, 'Yeah, yeah. I think I, I heard something like that.' And he said, 'You know whose home it started in?' And I said, no. He was, he was like, 'It started in Zebedee's home.'"
"And I said, 'What?' We're sitting there eating steak at Prime 115, really good spot. And I said 'What?' And he said, 'It started in your home and then the scriptures spread to the other characters' homes.' And I'm just sitting there frozen, I couldn't eat anymore because I'd already been through so much. I'm like, I don't need to hear this right now because this is now too much. Like I couldn't even finish."
"And, and he said, you know, we got together as a crew when we broke ground to build those homes that we prayed for one of the actors to receive the Holy Spirit and would become the seed to spread the gospel. And he points at me with tears in his eyes, this big burly bearded guy. And he goes, and you're gonna be that seed and you're (crying)... "
"It gets me worked up because I was about to sweep God under the rug. And for this to happen is, has, has blown my mind beyond belief."
"God did this to the loudmouth voice actor who's blabbing on set in between takes because I can't help but to talk about how mind-blowing this was. So I know people that might be watching it, it might sound absolutely crazy and I identify with that because I was the one back in the day, even though I believed, but I would sort of poke fun at people that were so into Jesus. And why are you so into him like that? I didn't understand."
"People should know even when I confronted Him and I said while I'm talking to Him, 'You probably don't even exist,' He still came after me in this way. So if people think, 'Oh, I'm not good enough for Him to...' It's like He wants you because you're not good enough. So then He can make you good enough."
"Once this happens to you, there's no going back. There's no going back. It's yeah, it's, it's mind-blowing."
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