There are two kinds of people in this world – those who are ready, and those who are not. For some folks, being ready is an obsession. Some have their Christmas shopping done in July, their Christmas cookies in the freezer by Thanksgiving, their supper menu planned out two weeks in advance. On the other end of the scale are those who do their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve, pick up some cookies from the bakery on the way home and then ask, “What should we have for supper?” On your deathbed, it really won’t matter whether you were one of those “ready” people or not.
There are other kinds of readiness that rank a bit higher. Again, there are folks on opposite ends of the pole. One kid studies his assignment all week long. The other kid asks what the assignment was when he walks into the classroom on the morning the work is due. Some folks are so worried about the material side of life that they are planning their retirement before they get out of school. Others spend like drunken sailors with no sensible foresight at all. These are areas where being ready can make a difference and not being ready can have some tough consequences in your life. But once again, on your deathbed, just how ready you were for tests and retirement will not be such a big deal.
But there is a readiness that is indispensable. You cannot do without it. Jesus said: “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Some, by a God-given faith in Jesus as their Savior, are ready at any time. Some, bound in the chains of unrepented sin and attitudinal unbelief, are frighteningly unprepared.
John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for the first coming of Christ. He preached: “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven is near!”
The Bible word for “repent” means “to change the mind.” Through the preaching of the law, God changes our mind about sin. We stop thinking of sin as no big deal and we see it for the damning thing that it is. Through the preaching of the gospel – the Good News of a Savior – God changes our mind about salvation. We stop thinking we can save ourselves and we come to see that only Christ can save us. This is how we get ready for the King!
“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance!” said John the Baptist. Faith is as faith does. Real faith does not go on living with a fist in God’s face, stubbornly clinging to sin. In an age of anything goes, this “voice in the wilderness” still calls out, “Are you ready for a brand new life? Are you ready for the King? Do you see your sin? Do you see your Savior?”
There are two kinds of people in this world – those who are ready, and those who are not. Ready or not, here He comes.