Why is Everyone Suddenly Talking About Jesus?

“We live in interesting times.” An Australian pastor said this to me recently. And we do. I’m writing this from Australia, where we are talking about mission, cancel culture, evangelism, church failures, and global issues like Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Australian preparation for what they view as a probable war with China. 

These are indeed, strange times.

Back in America, we are talking a lot about Jesus. Maybe that’s not surprising, as times of tumult and turbulence often lead to seasons of spiritual interest. And currently, these interesting times are certainly resulting in a marked buzz about Jesus. Ministry leaders in Australia are noticing, too.

Of course, people have been talking about Jesus for a long time and in a lot of places. Two thousand years after his death and resurrection though, the conversation is an interesting one as it is being leveraged by the technological advances of our digital world. 

From a popular TV series, to ad campaigns across television and YouTube, to spiritual revivals becoming viral stories on social media, to movies about a past Jesus revolution, people are talking and responding. Let’s look at the examples and then talk about the reason—and the opportunity. 

The Chosen

One of the most recent and notable examples of this conversation around Jesus is "The Chosen," a TV series created by Dallas Jenkins. This top crowdfunded media project in history tells the story of Jesus and his disciples in a creative way, focusing on character development of the disciples and the human side of Jesus and his followers. Rather than being a literal retelling of the Gospel stories, "The Chosen" takes editorial license, but with the purpose of getting people to engage with the scriptures. 

When I had Dallas Jenkins on my national radio show, he explained:

My operating principle as I started to develop the idea for this show was if you can see Jesus through the eyes of those who actually met him and identify with their questions and their struggles and their doubts, and their expectations, then perhaps you can be changed and impacted in the same way they were and identify with the answer to their struggles and their questions.

The series has gained a significant following with over 400 million views (as of the time of this article) and has been praised for its emotional impact and relatable portrayal of the characters. It has been used as an evangelistic tool by some churches and individuals.

Asbury University (and now other schools, too)

But the conversation around Jesus isn't just limited to media and advertising. Even here in Australia, people are talking about what’s been happening at Asbury University and other schools—and they are praying for the same here. 

In decades past, there have been several spiritual revivals and movements focused on Jesus and his transformative power. One such example is the Asbury Revival, which took place in 1970 at Asbury College in Kentucky. The revival started spontaneously during a chapel service and quickly spread throughout the campus and beyond, resulting in thousands of people turning to Christ and experiencing a renewed sense of faith and purpose. What made the Asbury revival unique was the emphasis on personal confession and repentance, as well as the students’ and faculty’s active participation in sharing the Gospel with others. The revival has been cited as an example of how God can work in unexpected ways and transform lives on a large scale.

Now, people are talking—and dare we say, hoping—about it happening again. I had Nick Hall on my radio program to talk about it, and he believes that “We’re living in a moment where God is doing something that I’ve never seen in my life.”

Jesus Revolution

And, of course, the timing of the movie Jesus Revolution is fascinating. Director Jon Erwin observed how the delay in the movie's release seemed to be providential. It quickly became the highest-grossing film by Lionsgate since 2019. The Jesus People Movement is well chronicled, and the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center recently did an oral history you can find at JesusPeopleMovement.com. But, younger generations are only now discovering the story of this movement from the 1970s. The fact that a major film came out—exceeding all expectations—is worth noting as we see all the ways people are talking about Jesus. 

Actually, in my radio interview with Greg Laurie, who wrote the book on which the movie is based, Greg mentioned how all these things were coming at such an interesting time—He Gets Us, Asbury, and more around the Jesus conversation.

So why the increasing interest in Jesus? Well, some may argue that it's a response to the increasing secularization of society and the search for something more meaningful and transcendent. Furthermore, the tumult and turbulence of the moment is undermining the confidence of people in the modern experiment. In the U.S., Gen Z represents a growing trend of religious disaffiliation and the rise of the "nones" or religiously unaffiliated. What stands out is the use of various forms of digital technology—from the Chosen series to He Gets Us ads, to the viral spread of stories about the Asbury revival across social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, to the Jesus Revolution film. This shows church leaders a helpful and hopeful way to connect with younger generations who are less attracted to churches but who nevertheless have deep spiritual needs. 

Put simply, the world is a mess, and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. That’s a stark reality here in Australia and in the rest of the world. Yet, Jesus is still Lord. And, in past difficult times, people have turned to Jesus. 

Today, reaching a changing world and a younger generation calls us to leverage the technology of our day to spread the good news just as Roman roads helped witnesses spread the good news in the first century. The examples I’ve given have all involved technology, but they also remind us that in tumultuous times, people look for a timeless rock that stands firm. 

We are living in interesting times, where many are talking about him today—and I’m praying more will be following him tomorrow.



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