Paul, Apostle of Christ (Affirm Films) brings to life the epic story of the man who went from persecutor of the church to its most powerful proponent. Directed and written by Andrew Hyatt, the film premieres in theaters on March 28.

Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) stars as Luke the physician. “You’re looking at a nonbeliever, a man that knew nothing of our Lord, and in one moment, saw Paul speak, and heard Christ come through him, and at that point, he was never the same,” he says.

In preparing for the role, Caviezel says he prayed, “‘Lord, convey through me what you want the world to see,’” just as he did when he portrayed Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. “That was the same in both of the films,” he says.

In the new movie, Luke risks his life to visit Paul, who’s held captive in a Roman prison under Nero’s rule. Together, they struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ as an example to an unbelieving world.

“There’s a part where it gives the indication that Luke has a very tough time of forgiving many of the leaders of the church that abandoned Paul, that Luke was very militantly going to stand by Paul, right to the end. And that many of the leaders of the church back then didn’t do their jobs,” Caviezel says. “You see that now in a lot of what’s going on in our Lord’s church. And when people see this film, they understand that our Lord died for us. These guys knew that. They also knew that their lives may be required of them.”

He adds, “I learned in this one that they were sinners just like us, but they changed a little, and the Holy Spirit did the rest. I believe watching this film, or in doing it, that God is calling each one of us to change.”

The movie, which was filmed in Malta, also stars James Faulkner (Game of Thrones), Olivier Martinez (S.W.A.T.), Joanne Whalley (A.D. The Bible Continues), and John Lynch (The Secret Garden.

—Ginny McCabe