Every year a cast and crew of over 1000 people come together to present the greatest story ever told to the northwest Indiana and Chicagoland area. While there are many passion plays during the Easter season, there is nothing QUITE like J.O.N. in size or style. From waterfalls and real life horses and camels to cutting edge pyrotechnics and exciting stunts the action and authenticity will transport your senses to Jerusalem during the days of JESUS. Experience the culture of old Israel and witness the red words come to life before you as you see first hand, the miracles, the life, and the resurrection of the Son of God.
This spring, share the great story of His passion, our freedom, and His love with those in your world near and far.
When he was still only a teenager, Steve Munsey wrote his first dramatic rendering of the "Passion of Jesus Christ" now known as "Jesus of Nazareth" The Passion Play presented annually in Munster, Indiana.
In 1982, Steve purchased a piece of land in Tacoma, Washington. Partnering with a church in Seattle, he built an outdoor amphitheater complete with a set of old Jerusalem, lakes, hills and valleys for the horses to run, all surrounded by the beautiful trees and mountains of the Northwest. On that magnificent set, JON began its first run during the summer of 1982. That location saw the presentation of His story for more than twenty years, permitting thousands of people to experience their first personal encounter with the Man from Galilee.
When Steve Munsey became Senior Pastor of Family Christian Center in 1984, among his first acts was the introduction of Jesus of Nazareth to the NWI/Chicagoland region. Each year, thousands would volunteer by getting involved in the cast, backstage in the crew, costuming and makeup and all the elements needed to put on the production.
Fast forward about fifteen years. Family Christian Center outgrew its Griffith facility & built a new church in Munster, Indiana. Pastor Steve had always dreamed of a stage for Jesus of Nazareth on an entirely different scale, so expansive and detailed that the audience would be captivated to the point that they feel transported to faraway Israel, two thousand years ago. One of his highest priorities for this new facility was the creation of a permanent indoor set of old Jerusalem. It was a proud day when Jesus of Nazareth premiered in the new location.
The set is absolutely magnificent with its waterfall, sparkling pool, Temple, Sanhedrin Court, Last Supper, Calvary, the tomb and on and on. The story comes to life with its colorful costuming, compelling action, and dramatic special effects.
Jesus of Nazareth becomes all the more relevant as time passes. While this story is two thousand years old, it is never static, but always full of life and energy. Each year, new scenes are added to the script, new effects are inserted, new characterizations are invented, and this year, for the first time, live singing has been added. Steve Munsey, the director, leads his huge volunteer cast through weeks of rehearsals to bring forth the best they have to give. Every scene is meticulously designed for accuracy and effect.
We encourage you to clear your mind of the distractions of the moment and to free your emotions. The story of Jesus of Nazareth and the love he displayed through his life and ministry is a compelling one. Let the truth of it connect deep in your heart. We guarantee that if it does, you will never be the same.