Love Cannot Be Taught; Only Demonstrated


daily text logoApril 14, 2015

1 John 2:7-8

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.



John sounds a bit like Master Yoda today. Passing away, the darkness is. Already shining, the truth is now.

How can something be both new and old at the same time. Nothing stays new. In the season of spring, everything is new again, but it never stays that way. Early spring always reminds me of my favorite poem. It’s called Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost.

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

The command John will continue to drive home is not a new command. It’s actually an old command. Even when Jesus told his disciples he was giving them a “new command,” it was still as old as Leviticus (see 18:19). In the old days, they wanted to interpret this text about loving one’s neighbor as they loved themselves” in the sense of what is required to fulfill one’s obligation to the law or their duty. It’s why the Pharisee pressed Jesus with the question, “Who is my neighbor?” He wanted to know the boundaries or limits of this law concerning neighbor love. He was looking for an interpretation. Rather than giving an interpretation, Jesus told the now famous story known as the Good Samaritan. Instead  of opting for what is “required,” Jesus chose to emphasize what was possible.

Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you;

When Jesus wanted to teach his disciples the meaning of love he didn’t render an interpretation. He became the interpretation. He washed their feet. This command to love others is an old commandment, but every time someone actually dares to obey it, things are made new.  In organizations, relationships, communities, and even nations, the love of God revealed by Jesus Christ and now manifested in and through his people makes things new.

Holy love means treating people extravagantly, according to their best interest rather than handling them according to the calculus of our best interest. Jesus death on the cross was clearly not in his best interest. He asked for the cup of suffering to pass him by, yet for the sake of love, he became “obedient unto death.” As a result, the New Creation broke in on the old broken one. Everything is being made new. The old is passing away. The new is breaking forth.

Every time we love others as Jesus has loved us, even in the smallest of ways, the New Creation is extended further. This, in effect, pushes the darkness back. As we will see tomorrow, this is what it means to “walk in the Light as He is in the Light.”

Passing away, the darkness is. Already shining, the truth is now.

Stay gold.

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed’s Sower-in-Chief.