The Truth About Valentine's Day
As I write this, it is February 14th, St. Valentines Day, a day which sets many hearts into fits and starts. Our culture tends to make every holiday more about hooking up than about what the actual holiday is about (Check out Christmas if you doubt that). St. Valentine's Day is not about Rom-com's, candy and flowers, but about faithful and committed love to Jesus.
Don't believe me? Keep reading.
in Rome, under the reign of Claudius II Gothicus, Christians were considered a sect. Throughout the empire they had persecuted by those of the Jewish faith that did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Valentine was converted to Christianity in 250-260. He was a physician and leader in the church by many accounts.
His home had two levels and people would come to him for treatment. He would accept no money for the prayer and treatments, except for some food, herbs or even shoes. Many miracles were attested to him and the efficacy of his prayers.
It is told that there was a Roman jailer who had a daughter who was blind from birth. He had slipped away under the cover of darkness to bring his daughter to Valentine for prayer and treatment. Valentine prayed for the girl and treated her eyes with a salve. Over the next few weeks and months, the three became friends and Vaslentine would have the girl accompany him as he collected plants for medicines.
Over the weeks, the girl had not improved, but Valentine, faithfully prayed for her and treated her.
Then one night, late, there was a pounding at the door. Valentine supposed it was one of his people coming for prayer or someone else asking for healing. As he opened the door, a cohort of Roman soldiers burst in destroying everything in his house, including his medicines, and then hauled him into prison! the persecution had been taken to a new level as Christians were being rounded up and imprisoned.
The friend whose daughter was blind had access to Valentine because of his job in the prison. He came to see his friend and wept telling him there was nothing he could do for him. Valentine had been praying with the other prisoners knowing that their prospects were bleak.
Valentine asked the jailer for a paper and something to write with. He quickly scribbled out a note for the man and his daughter, and handed it to him. Later on that day, February 14th, 269 AD, he was beheaded for his faith in Jesus as the Messiah and buried along with hundreds of other believers who gave their all that day.
The jailer came to his daughter and told her of Valentine's state sponsored murder. She asked her father to read the note. In it Valentine had written, "Stay faithful to Jesus. I know He will heal you! Sincerely, Your Valentine" After reading the note aloud, the jailer and the daughter wept together over their friend, who was so true in the face of persecution. As they cleared their eyes from the hot tears, the daughter exclaimed as she for the first time saw, focus on a bouquet of crocus, which were Valentine's favorite. Jesus had healed her as Valentine had said!
Hundreds of years later, St. Valentine had a special mass that commemorated his faith and ministry. Romans, being who they were, took his day and a secular day for romance on the 15th and merged them into one day, St. Valentine's Day.
Our culture has taken this syncretism to new heights, so that now, most people don't even know who Valentine was and only celebrate romantic love. But, I want to assure you that deep in history's memory, there was a man who, "...overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Revelation 12:11) His witness is still strong today in the midst of sexually drunken culture, the faithfulness of this physician and leader of the church stands strong.
So, happy Valentine's day, and may we walk in the strength of Jesus this day!
Stay tuned next week! I have many reports of revival that I want to tell you about and highlight a recent testimony from our people. God is on the move!!!