Let me ask – how many of you know who Saint Valentine was and why February 14th is Valentine’s Day? Well, today is the day Saint Valentine was executed in 278 A.D. Saint Valentine was a priest and bishop who was martyred in Rome under Claudius II and was buried on February 14th. Back then Claudius wanted to end Christianity so he outlawed it, killed Christians and waged war on nations if they were Christian. Since he was having a problem recruiting soldiers, and they didn’t want to leave their wives to go to war, he then outlawed marriage. (Some of you may be thinking, “What a great idea” – shame on you!)
Saint Valentine kept preaching and when a Christian couple wanted to marry he would perform the ceremony. He was arrested and while in prison, Claudius took him in to the king’s chambers to talk with him. However, the emperor did not want to hear about Jesus or how to be saved. He then ordered Valentine to not mention Jesus again. Valentine refused the order and at first was beaten with clubs. Still defiant, Claudius ordered him to be stoned to death and beheaded, which he was and then was buried on February 14th.
A different kind of story than most of you imagined, is the reason for Valentine’s Day. However there are some lessons we can learn from Valentine. One, it is important to share the Gospel.
This morning I read that in our culture the only way to reach others is one to one.
Second, we learn that marriage is important to God. And last, don’t let anything or anyone stop you from telling others that Jesus is Lord. Valentine gave us the example of pure love, and I hope and pray that you’ll follow his example and love others and the Lord, even if you have to give up your life.