Most people like to find a certain way of living and stick to it. We make our choices—politics, religion, friends, money, career—and rarely reexamine them. We would prefer to just live happily ever after.
But Jesus wants us to be willing to change.
“‘A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” And he answered, “I will not,” but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, “I go, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him’”(Matt 21:28-32).
Jesus praises the tax collectors and prostitutes who changed in response to John’s preaching. He criticizes the chief priests and elders because they refused to hear John. “And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.” Jesus targets an unwillingness to change, even when we know we need to.
The stories of significance in the gospels are change stories. Peter, Andrew, James, and John leave behind their fishing business to follow Jesus and become fishers of men. Matthew leaves his tax office at Jesus’ call. Zacchaeus reworks his business model to be more ethical. One woman (Luke 7:36-50) leaves behind a life of sin to show love to Jesus.
Meanwhile, the tragedies in the gospels are those who refuse to change. Most of the Pharisees refuse to even consider that Jesus might be the messiah. The rich young ruler come to the cusp of following Jesus, only to go away sorrowful. Many tell Jesus they would love to follow him—but want to do other things first (Luke 9:57-62).
Would you change--
Jesus opposes the hardened, intractable, set-in-its-ways heart. Are you willing to change?