Summary: God gave us Jesus as a way of saying, "I love you and you are special to me." That is a really great gift, isn't it? Much better than Valentine's cards, or candy, or flowers.
God’s Unconventional Love Vs Valentine's Day
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17b-19)
Today is a special day. Yes, it is Valentine's Day. But does everyone know the origin of this day? It is a very old tradition which started because of a Bishop named Valentinus. He lived back in the days of the Roman Empire. Long ago, the Roman officials were against young people getting married in the church.
Many young Christians wanted to be married by the priest, in the church, with God's blessing. Valentinus was sympathetic to these people and continued to help marry them, even though he was often threatened by the government authorities. Sadly, he was taken to Rome and put to death for his faith and his defiance of the Emperor's rule. In memory and honor of Saint Valentinus, young couples started talking about choosing a Valentine, when they were actually talking about choosing a bride. Now we call this day, Saint Valentine's Day.
In the modern era, many people give their sweethearts Valentine's Day cards with hearts all over them. Some people give candies or flowers. A red carnation or a red rose means "I love you." These are all ways that people show their love.
But God also gave us a gift to show us that He loved us. It was Jesus. God gave us Jesus as a way of saying, "I love you and you are special to me." That is a really great gift, isn't it? Much better than cards, or candy, or flowers.
Today, let us meditate on biblical love, the greatest love of all time. There once was a very old pastor, who was suffering from a long battle with cancer. A few days before his death, he continued to hold on to a special verse that was the source of his inspiration. He placed a bookmark where his favorite scripture passage was written: "Who shall separate us from the love Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" (Romans 8:34-35 KJV). Despite facing such a trail in his life, the old pastor was most certainly blessed with the power "to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ;" a love that surpasses knowledge.
As children of God, we understand the fact that the root and foundation of creation is love. It "surpasses knowledge." We know about human love. Human love comes with the understanding that love comes as a reward for being good, for being faithful, for being kind, for giving gifts, and for acting with appropriate behavior. But this is not the same as the love which is embedded in the foundation of creation. This is not the love that surpasses knowledge. This is not the love that Paul prays we might have the power to grasp.
God’s love flows freely, without consideration of reward or a plan of compensation. This is a love that is not inherent to human nature. We are more inclined to return love for love. But the Scripture says, "... how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:20-21). If we are to approach love in the way of biblical love, we must meditate on what it means when the Bible says, we must love each other as ourselves.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:13-17)
Today, I would like to meditate on 3 questions about this amazing kind of love. The first question is this:
Where Does Love Come From?
Now some of you would answer, ‘that’s easy--it comes from within.’ Some may say, ‘It’s something that happens naturally as we mature as human beings.’ However, remember how hard it is to teach children to share? That sharing instinct is not natural to them, but it is taught. A human instinct is: self-survival.