According to church tradition St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D. At that time the Roman Emperor was imprisoning Christians for not worshipping the Roman gods. During this persecution Valentine was arrested. Some say he was arrested because he was performing Christian marriages, but others say it was for helping Christians escape prison.
During the trial they asked Valentine what he thought of the Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury. Of course Valentine said they were false gods and that the God that Jesus called Father was the only true God. So the Romans threw him in prison for insulting the gods.
While in prison Valentine continued to minister. He witnessed to the guards. One of the guards was a good man who had adopted a blind girl. He asked Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight. The guard and his whole family, 46 people, believed in Jesus and were baptized. Because these people had come to know Jesus, Valentine praised God right there in his prison cell. When the emperor heard about this he was furious that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he had Valentine beheaded.
Valentine knew that he might get caught in his Christian activities. He knew that if he told the court the truth about the Roman gods that he would be thrown in prison. And he knew that if he continued to witness to Christ in the prison he would make his captors angry. But he continued, because he loved the Lord and his fellow humans. He was willing to risk his life to free the prisoners and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who needed to hear it.
The Bible Says: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”(John 15:13) God showed us this love by coming in Christ to die for our sins. And St. Valentine demonstrated this love when he died for his friends. This is the kind of love that Valentine’s Day is really about.
1 JOHN 4:10
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
On Valentine’s Day we try to think of new and creative ways to show our love to our spouses, children, and others who are dear to us. Hearts, flowers, cards with cute sayings, heart-shaped cakes, balloons–there are all kinds of ways to let these special folks know just how much they mean to us. The greatest demonstration of love, of course, came from God the Father when He sent His only Son from the splendor of Heaven to the limitations of earth to become our Savior. In essence, Jesus is God’s Valentine to us.
God’s Love can be Seen in Creation: Not a cunningly devised fable, as with evolution or other man made inventions of creation, but the fact that God created the heavens and the earth and all that are therein. He made Adam and Eve in his image and placed them in the garden and walked with them and talked with them. We may not feel that we are very lovely or lovable, but the Lord of creation has created you in his image. He made you to be you. God doesn’t do trash. You are the special creation of an all wise loving heavenly Father. To understand the value of you is to know the master creator.
God’s Love can be seen in Christ: The best valentine gift is the gift of yourself given to the one who is loved. God gave of himself in his son. He declared his love of his Son on the mount of transfiguration. “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” If God looked at us would he be able to describe as his beloved child in whom I am well pleased? If we have come to God through the one who said I am the way the truth and the life, and no one can come to the father but through me then he does say that we are his beloved child in whom I am well pleased.
“This is divine love: Jesus loved not only His friends but also His enemies–the God-hating, Christ-murdering world.
Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” That is as high as human love can go, to die for your friends and your own loved ones.
The Bible states, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:8-10).
God’s Love can be seen in his Covenant: His word was given to us to remember the God of Love that created us and comes to us to live with us and be with us. The scripture is not a few well educated individuals with a private interpretation, but the word of God has been given to all in this day and in this time so we might come to know, to love and experience God. The God of Love has made every provision for us to believe, receive, and choose to follow him, accept him and Love him.
God’s Love can be seen in his children: The Apostles are the first generation of eyewitnesses who have seen and testify of the God who Loves them. These Apostles spread the word and now it is passed onto us who have been saved by him to give this God of Love to the world.
We, as God’s children must resemble our God’s love in our lives.
How closely do we resemble our Heavenly Father? When people look at us do they recognize us as His children?
Scripture says there is one thing that identifies us as followers of Christ – our love.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
People will identify us as Christians, if our lives reflect our Father’s love. What does this love look like? It is resting in God’s peace during times of stress. It is forgiving our enemies and praying for them rather than seeking revenge or harboring anger. It is being kind and patient with others even when they are not. It is putting the needs of others before our own.
1 Corinthians 13 paints a clear picture of this type of love in action.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
When we exhibit this type of love, people notice these qualities because they are not the world’s typical responses. These behaviors do not originate from our sinful natures. On our own, we could never love others as God does.
God loves us infinitely and unconditionally. His love and grace are imparted to us in an ongoing flow, by the second, by the minute, by the hour, by the day. Most of us would love to have someone in our lives who loves us like this. Someone who is always patient with us, who isn’t envious of us; who thinks of us first, who believes in us, who hopes for the very best for us, who endures hard times with us. What a wonderful thing to be loved like that. The truth is that God loves us just like that. God is the one who brings us through periods of struggle, hardship, and sorrow. God has a master plan for all of creation, and you are a part of it. That plan is unfolding bit by bit even this very day.
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