By Dany Hernandez

There’s a basic question that most of us would like answered: “What do I have to do to be ready for Jesus?” This isn’t a new question by any means. For centuries, Christians have been asking themselves this question and the answers have varied tremendously.

In order to answer this question, we have to go back to the beginning. We have to go back to Genesis and a conversation between God and Abram. In that encounter, God asks Abram to enter into a covenant that will be world changing. In a covenant, at least two parties are involved and each party has certain things it is responsible for. This covenant was pretty clear: God would bless Abram, and, in return, the world would be blessed through Abram. “Blessed to be a blessing.”

Somewhere along the way, religion got in the way of this simple covenant and we became more interested in being blessed than we were in being blessings. All of a sudden our sales pitch became, “Come to Jesus and He will bless you!” Unfortunately, this is only half of our calling.

Maybe Jesus is delaying His return because we have forgotten the second part of the covenant. Maybe we are so concerned about how many people are attending church, and what they are wearing, and what they are eating, that we’ve forgotten the part about blessing the world.

Let’s take a look at John the Baptist for a minute. The prophet Isaiah refers to him as the one who is coming to “prepare the way” for the Messiah. John the Baptist had one purpose in life, one mission to accomplish, one item on his job description, and that was to prepare the way for Jesus. That means he needed to make sure people were ready for the coming of the Messiah.

In Luke chapter 3, we find him doing what he was called to do. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God’” (Luke 3:4-6)

Then John the Baptist reminds his listeners that religious heritage means nothing. A Christian pedigree is actually worthless in the kingdom to come. He tells them there’s no such thing as reform and reformation without visible fruit. And then the question comes, the one we all want an answer to: “What do I have to do to be ready for Jesus?”

“And the crowds asked him, ‘What shall we do?’” (Luke 3:10). In other words, they were asking John, “What do we have to do to be ready for Jesus?” Surely we need to spend more time in church, more time in Bible study and more time praying right? The answer might surprise all of us. John looked at them and asked, “Do you really want to know what you have to do to be ready for Jesus?”

“And he answered them, ‘Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.’ Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, ‘Teacher, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Collect no more than you are authorized to do.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what shall we do?’ And he said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats of by false accusation, and be content with your wages.’” (Luke 3:10-14)

When asked what they needed to do to be ready for Jesus, the answer was not more church, or prayer, or Bible study. Being ready for Jesus meant taking care of people and being a blessing to the world. Being ready for Jesus, accord- ing to John the Baptist, was about taking care of those in need. Taking care of neighbors, being fair, and being just.

This was not a new concept; it’s been this way from the beginning. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

What are you doing to get ready for Jesus?

–Dany Hernandez is senior pastor of the Life Source Adventist Fellowship in Denver.