Do you ever find yourself saying, “What else could I do?” Do you ever feel like there’s no other way? That there’s no hope for change? Do you ever feel like giving up?

Then perhaps you can relate to Matthew, the main character in the Waypoints manga titled “What Else Could I Do?”

This manga was inspired by a story found in the Bible (Matthew 9:9-13). 

The truth is, we don’t know much about Matthew’s life before he met Jesus. But from the little that Scripture tells us, we can imagine a lot. 

Matthew was a tax collector. And in his time and place, tax collectors were not very popular. In fact, people hated them. You see, Matthew was a Jew, and in his day, his homeland was occupied by the Roman Empire. As you can imagine, working for a foreign empire who have taken over your country would not look good in the eyes of your fellow countrymen. 

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As we’ve portrayed him in this manga, Matthew may have been unhappy in this role. Sure, he made a decent living. But to his fellow Jews he was a traitor, and to the Romans just a pawn. Caught in the middle, pulled in two directions, feeling trapped. If he  quit his job, the Romans might not let him go so easily. But even if they did, his own people would not trust or accept him. And despite what people wanted, the Romans were there to stay. 

So what else could he do?

Jesus offered a better way.

Many people today feel pulled in different directions, too. They’re torn between responsibilities to different groups whose expectations aren’t always compatible — workplace, family, friends, community… Many people feel trapped, unable to live up to the pressures of society.

What else could they do?

Jesus offers a better way.

Jesus offered Matthew an acceptance that society wouldn’t give him. Jesus offered him an alternative to both the brutal oppression of Rome and the hopeless violence of those who might oppose them. Jesus gave Matthew not only a new job, but a whole new way of looking at the world. In fact, he gave him a new life — one of purpose and meaning and love.

Jesus offers a better way to us, too. 

Jesus loves and accepts you as you are. He offers an alternative to both the empty pursuit of success and the shame of failure. If you get to know him, he will give you a whole new way of looking at the world. In fact, he will give you new life — one of purpose and meaning and love. 

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Matthew kept saying, “What else could I do?” as a statement of resignation, an expression of giving up on any hope of change. But when he met Jesus, those words —  “What else could I do?” — took on a whole new meaning.

And like Matthew, if you really get to know Jesus, you too may find his offer hard to resist.

How will you respond to Jesus’ invitation?