Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2, verse 8.
So there’s nothing new in the world; there is nothing new under the sun, and this is certainly true. Verse 7 confirmed that. Yet here John writes that, in the very next verse, there was a new command. It was radical at the time, that we should love, forgive, and be at peace with even the people who would torture or oppress us. Two thousand years later, that idea is still radical and still very new.
It’s new because you and I have friends to whom the idea of Jesus’ love is brand new. They don’t know Him, and some say they don’t want to. We talk with them in the course of our lives, being friendly and hopefully kind. On my end, I email them or talk with them, in the hope that something in that hard heart will crack and open to Him. That hope is possible because Jesus’ true light shines in the darkness of our proud sins.
What does that mean? I can understand why unbelievers are incredulous at believing. Why cling to hope when the world just beats us down? ‘Put your hope in some guy who died 2000 years ago? Sure, he was a good teacher, but God?’
The evidence is everywhere, speaking to heads and hearts. Don’t believe in miracles? Ever wonder how many hundreds of times you could be killed in a day yet aren’t? Chalk that up to chance, or chalk it up to the supernatural protecting us in a natural world. Think about your own feelings, about how confession really does make you feel better when you know you’ve done wrong. Psychological tool? Not hardly. What about love? Can you really, truly tell me that the love you feel for someone is just a neurological condition or a chemical reaction in your brain? Not even the coldest skeptic, when warmed by the caring of someone close, can be so cold as to embrace that.
Consider these things and maybe, just maybe, you get a glimpse of how the darkness is passing and true light is already shining. His love and His example, even from millennia ago, is still very much at work today. There’s nothing new in it. God’s love has been around since the beginning, for it was out of love that He made this world. It was because of that love that He came to redeem it. And it is in love that Jesus still lives and works in our lives here today. He loves us, draws us close, so that we can share His light with others and do the same.
My lord, how brilliant is your light! Your love saves, forgives, and strengthens. Thank you for this, and help me to share that love with the people around me.