Jesus as a Friend

By Michael Koss

At the start of August, many of Catholic Campus Ministry’s small group leaders attended the Evangelical Training Camp (ETC) in Carlinville, Illinois to learn how to build communities whose bedrock is Jesus Christ. The phrasing of the ETC’s  title may summon up the weird, pushy image of evangelism, of following through on the Great Commission, that is demonstrated in the opening number of the Book of Mormon musical (Matthew 28: 16-20).

And admittedly, that was the image in my mind at times during the ETC conference–and especially when more charismatic presenters preached or became choked up by past experiences in their journeys as disciples. But that image was ultimately rebuked from me by what I learned from them: that evangelism is simply sharing a best friend–certainly not always your best friend, but he who is the best friend you and any other human being could ever have.

The trick to this, I think, is viewing Jesus Christ as our friend. In the seriousness of the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection that occur for the salvation of souls, we under-realize the substance that compelled him to act as he did. He loved us. He wanted to be with us. So it makes sense that evangelism is actually sharing that spirit, that love, that friend, with others. And that isn’t so weird, is it?