“What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
It’s an oxymoron, but today’s article deals with an unknown celebrity. And although very little is known about him personally, this individual has a special day named after him on our calendar. And, moreover, because of him, our nation has its largest sales day for jewelry, perfumes, chocolates, and flowers all within a 24 hour period! Who is this unknown celebrity? Of course, I’m writing about Saint Valentine.
Frankly, Saint Valentine would not understand his own popularity today–nor how he single-handedly promotes a holiday based on romantic love. That’s not to say that he would be opposed to it—it’s just that he was famous for promoting something which was outlawed in his day! Saint Valentine was an outlaw? Yes. Today, allow me to tell you about this “holy criminal”!
Saint Valentine lived in the days of tremendous persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. He was a priest in the 3rd century while Emperor Claudius, unfortunately, was in power. And the strange reason that he was killed for his faith on February 14th 269 A.D. is why we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.
The “crime” that Saint Valentine committed against the Roman Empire seems very bizarre: “Illegal” weddings for Roman soldiers! You say—what? How could that be so criminal and worthy of the death penalty? Well, that’s because we simply don’t realize how barbaric mankind can become without God.
You see, Emperor Claudius was all about world-wide domination. And he needed ferocious soldiers who would not only conquer those foreign nations, but also abuse and indoctrinate the women in those lands. He saw it as an effort to spread the Roman “seed”. It was a very perverted–but very effective method–to totally demoralize those conquered peoples. Logically, Claudius knew that married Roman soldiers would not be willing to participate in that horribly evil strategy. And so, he made it illegal for Roman soldiers to get married!
Enter: Saint Valentine. With a rock-solid understanding of God’s Word regarding marriage, he defied the Roman decree! Why? Saint Valentine knew that the love “agreement”—symbolized by marriage—was actually a greater picture of God’s covenant with mankind through Jesus Christ. Ephesians chapter five deals quite beautifully with that analogy.
Folks, it was God’s design from the very beginning to self-identify through what we now know as marriage. Love—that is, the most sacred love that should exist between a man and a woman—tells society about God Himself! Unfortunately, modern society has so contaminated marital love that it bears no resemblance to God’s original design. And that’s why when Tina Turner sang: “What’s love got to do with it?”—she struck such a nerve with so many disillusioned people. However, you need to know that without God we can never really understand true love. And for married couples–it really is essential to understand God’s love as a supernatural “glue” that keeps them together! It was so essential, in fact, that Saint Valentine was willing to die for it! Happy Valentine’s Day!