At Jesus Film Project® we commemorate ministry milestones. One of those is the number of languages we’ve translated the JESUS film into since its release in 1979. Since then we’ve had one goal in mind: for every person to hear Jesus’ words directly from Scripture through film.
In 2022 the JESUS film reached 2,000 language translations. Each language translation is cause for celebration, but 2,000 languages is remarkable. And it’s only possible by God’s grace.
You can watch our executive director, Josh Newell, and his wife, Holly, talk about this milestone here.
Jesus speaks …
In their message, Josh and Holly Newell talk about how they look forward to the day when every person in the world can say, “Jesus speaks my language!” Not everyone will be inspired to utter those words. But when we convey the gospel message in a person’s “heart” language—the language learned from birth––that personal connection with His words can be transformative, often leading to a relationship with Christ.
Only God’s Holy Spirit can reveal the truth to us and inspire us to turn from sin to follow Jesus. But a first, powerful spark for many has been the presentation of the gospel in their language through the film JESUS. And that’s worth commemorating.
So when we are awed by someone saying “Jesus speaks my language,” it’s because we believe it proclaims that Jesus speaks to every heart, Jesus speaks to every need, Jesus speaks to the brokenness of our world. When we hear His message of forgiveness, we’re changed. Jesus saves. Jesus transforms. But this whole process of redemption and renewal begins when Jesus speaks.
That’s why “Jesus speaks” is the rallying cry behind our celebration of this milestone. It’s at the heart of every story and video we share as we commemorate God’s goodness in 2,000 translations of the JESUS film.
This special page in celebration of the JESUS film in 2,000 languages features testimonials and stories of life change, information about the 2,000th language, the translation process and more. After you check it out, feel free to share it with someone who might be encouraged by how the message of hope in Jesus is resonating around the world.
Speaking of milestones
The most pivotal milestone in the life of every Christian is the day we decided to follow Jesus, or at least the season of life when our lives began to change. We stopped living for ourselves and began to live for Him, with our words and actions lining up along the way. Only God, through the Holy Spirit, can do this as He has been for centuries following Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The simple message of the gospel, unchanging as it is, brings fullness of joy to everyone who embraces it. As we stop to celebrate the impact of JESUS in thousands of languages, we’re also stopping to reflect on at least two simple, unchanging truths about sharing the gospel.
1. We can’t do it alone
If we were witnesses to Jesus’ final moments with His disciples before leaving Earth, what would we have seen? We’d have seen Him commanding His followers to take the gospel to the rest of the world. And can you imagine the looks on their faces? What did they say?
It’s nice to imagine they all looked at each other and nodded in enthusiastic agreement. They would do it together, right? The Bible doesn’t tell us how the disciples immediately responded, but we do know what happened afterward because the book of Acts tells us. The early church came together, appointing leaders and breaking bread together daily. They were of one heart and mind and gave generously to those in need. It was in this unity and generosity that more were added to their number as people around them came to know Christ (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35). Later, as Paul’s letter to the Philippians shows us, their prayers, finances and hospitality were directed toward supporting the work of the disciples who were spreading the message of Jesus to the cities around them.
This commitment to collaboration is necessary for us today. Although we could go at it alone, the task of helping people meet and know Jesus is best done arm in arm. It’s the reason we support missionaries in our local churches and why the lifeblood of our outreach ministries is likely to be its body of volunteers.
For our part, we recognize it’s the obedience, kindness and steadfastness of the thousands of ministry partners and believers involved in the 2,000 translations of JESUS that have made them a reality.
2. The story of Jesus is for everyone
Jesus’ last words to His disciples made it clear the gospel isn’t for just one nation, it’s for all the nations (Matthew 28). The message of the gospel isn’t restricted by language or held back by geography. The story of Jesus is for everyone––for the citizen, the foreigner and the refugee. It’s a borderless message that can make use of any medium and language.
Think about it: these days, wherever we are, many of us are among people who are not from our same culture or even our same language group. It’s our hope we can help you reach them with the story of Jesus.
2,000 language translations and counting
There are more than 7,000 languages spoken around the world. Half of the global population speaks only 23 of them! And there are many smaller people groups around the world with their own unique languages or dialects. That means we’re not done at Jesus Film Project.
We’re still translating and recording JESUS and other films in the languages of the world. We’re also developing new films, innovating how we share Jesus online and in social media, partnering with pastors around the world who are planting churches and mentoring new believers, distributing equipment like tablets and portable projectors and so much more.
We praise God for what He’s done through 2,000 translations of JESUS. Above all we look on with excitement at God’s boundless message and what He’ll do moving forward.
You can be part of the story
The story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is the greatest story ever told, and the whole world should hear it in the language they best understand. You can be a part of that story.
If you aren’t signed up to receive our weekly newsletter, JFP News, we encourage you to sign up today. That way you can stay in the know about the JESUS film and all we’re up to at Jesus Film Project. You’ll receive inspiring stories and get a glimpse into everything we have to offer to help you share Jesus in your world.
Today, commemorate and celebrate with us at Jesus Film Project that speakers of 2,000 languages around the world have access to Jesus’ words in their world!