I cannot imagine the expression on their faces. The Pharisees and leaders of the synagogue had handed Jesus the Old Testament. He read Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah and how He would set captive hearts free from their sin. “Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down… (and said) Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” I am sure you could have heard a pin drop! Sad to say, it wasn’t long after this very incident that these same leaders crucified the Christ. They did not want to hear what He had to say, no matter how wonderful the Good News; they chose not to change. And, people to this day have not changed.
Jesus offers exclusivity to an egalitarian, pluralistic culture, claiming that He is the only way (John. 14:6). People refuse Him to follow Buddha, Mohammed or some glitzy “pastor” with the latest in feel-good messages. Jesus, in contrast, draws discernable lines of fellowship: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30).
The only option Jesus gives a person is change. John the Immerser begged people to “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8) whereas Paul tells Christians, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Change is the nature of godly living, that we “may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).
What is critical to understand, however, is that with Jesus there is no fence to ride. And, whether you like your two, simple options or not is really not relevant. All that matters is that you choose to change.