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The First Valentine

line The First Valentine

Pause and Consider



The First Valentine


Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends

(John 15:13).

Valentine was a young man who lived in Rome during the days when Christians were persecuted (100-300 AD).  Though not a Christian, Valentine did what he could to help them.  Eventually he was caught and imprisoned for his efforts.  While in prison he became a believer in Jesus.  He was eventually clubbed to death on February 14, 269.  As a prisoner he would send messages to his friends: ‘I love you;’ ‘Remember Valentine.’  So, on February 14 of each year we celebrate Valentine’s Day, in recognition of a man who loved and gave his life for others.

Florists and card-makers love Valentine’s Day.  Most of us have someone we wish to honor on this special day, be it our spouse, our intended, or perhaps our mother.  We think of them and in some way, we display our love for them.

This reminds us of the love of God for mankind.  He loved us so much that He gave His own Son to die in our place.  This is very difficult for us to understand on at least two levels.

First, we are unlovely.  The Bible does not give a very flattering picture of humanity.  We are rebels against a Faithful Creator, enemies in our hearts and minds by our wicked works.  God views the very best things that we could do as though they were filthy rags.  All of us have sinned and come short of God’s glory.  No one seeks after God.  Like sheep, we have all gone astray, following our own ways.

It is easy to bristle at this Scriptural portrait, but this is how God sees us.  And yet, Jesus Christ, who is thrice-holy, righteous, undefiled, separate from sinners, and higher than the angels, became sin for us.  Our finiteness cannot comprehend His infinite purity.  For God to love us who are so unlovely is beyond our reasoning.

Second, the cost was immeasurably great.  Paul puts it this way: He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (Romans 8:32).  The word spared is found in the OT in the story of Abraham and Isaac.  Abraham, at the request of God, did not spare his son from the altar.  Likewise God gave His very own Son to die on a cross.  He did not spare Him any of the grief, shame or suffering that you and I so rightly deserve because of our sin.

In light of our unworthiness and the tremendous cost of Calvary, we ought to be filled with love and gratitude to our great God.  This love should express itself in recognizing the debt we owe for our sin, and our inability to pay that debt.  As we see Christ crucified and risen, He alone having paid our debt, we must turn from sin and fully trust Him. This is all that we can do.  He has done it all for us!

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, let us remember the One who loved us, and gave Himself for us.

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