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Deaf Missions Breaks Barriers with First-Ever ASL Jesus Film
The "Jesus Movie" will deliver the Gospel to 70 million people worldwide who are deaf. |

Deaf Missions Breaks Barriers with First-Ever ASL Jesus Film 

The ministry for the deaf community, Deaf Missions, is releasing “JESUS: A Deaf Missions Film” in a groundbreaking move.

This unprecedented project is the first feature film presented entirely in American Sign Language (ASL). Directed by Joseph D. Josselyn and starring Gideon Firl, the film aims to connect the Gospel with the deaf community.

“Growing up in a Christian family, I watched many films about Jesus,” Josselyn shared with The Christian Post. “But I always wondered, what if these movies were in sign language?” This childhood curiosity ignited a passion within him that eventually led to the creation of this unique film.

Overcoming Challenges to Share Jesus’ Story

The journey to bring “JESUS: A Deaf Missions Film” to life was challenging. “Producing a full feature film in sign language requires significant resources,” Josselyn acknowledged. Nonetheless, progressions in technology and the influence of social media cleared the path for this vision to materialize.

The movie offers a unique perspective on pivotal instances from Jesus’ ministry, particularly His interactions with religious figures. It highlights His wonders and supremacy while detailing His confrontations during heightened strain under Roman governance in Judea.

“The Jews were anticipating a Messiah, but Jesus was not what they expected,” the film’s description notes. “What the religious leaders orchestrated to be Jesus’ end instead changed the world forever.”

An Authentic Representation of Jesus in ASL

The filmmakers focused on Jesus’ ministry’s core: forgiveness of sins and unconditional love, despite grappling with content choices.

“We narrowed it down to the things that would bring the most clarity to who Jesus was in His ministry,” Josselyn explained.

“JESUS: A Deaf Missions Film” features an ASL-fluent cast, authentically representing the deaf community. In addition to ASL, the film includes a soundtrack and English subtitles to ensure accessibility for all audiences.

Gideon Firl, who portrays Jesus Christ, shared his unique perspective on the role. “It was really easy because Jesus is still alive,” he remarked. “We have His voice and His character in us. That’s what I copied. The Holy Spirit was the One that helped me to emulate that.”

Impacting Lives Through Film

Both Josselyn and Firl are excited about the potential impact of the film. “We had the vision that this would reach deaf people through churches and community centers hosting it, but we never really thought that it could be in the movie theater,” Josselyn expressed.

The film’s debut signifies a remarkable milestone: granting deaf individuals a fully immersive cinematic experience. “This was such a big opportunity for us,” Josselyn added. “It’s the best place for deaf people to watch movies, in a movie theater, to be able to sit, to feel like they’re part of the audience.”

Furthermore, the movie strives to extend its reach beyond the deaf community. Josselyn is confident that the cinematic presentation will captivate a wider audience, including individuals needing more support for conventional evangelism. 

“This experience is the best option for all people, not just Christians, not just unbelievers, not just the deaf, but lots of people who might be resistant to the Gospel. But if you invite them to a movie theater, they’re going to be like, ‘Sure, I’ll go watch a movie.’”

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