For God So Loved The World

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

—John 3:16

The stories surrounding the origin of Valentine’s Day are many and varied. Some accounts say that the name Valentine was common among the martyrs of the early church, and the holiday was an effort to honor their name. Others say it started in an effort to replace the pagan ritual to honor the goddess Juno Februata. In this ritual, the names of young women were put into a box, and young men drew out the names by lot. The matched couples were considered partners for the year.

Whatever the true origin of Valentine’s Day, it is indisputably a major holiday. The U.S. greeting card association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, surpassed only by Christmas.

The fact is, despite the many cards and notes expressing love that are widely exchanged on that day, there is another expression of love that exceeds them all. Through the apostle John, the Spirit of God has written the greatest love letter the world has ever known. Interestingly, John, who penned perhaps the most famous and oft repeated words in human history, commonly referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23).

You may or may not receive a Valentine’s card today, but you have received a love note from heaven that declares God so loved the world He gave his Son to die for your sins. The ultimate expression of love is to lay down one’s life for one’s friends, and that is exactly what Jesus did.

On this Valentine’s Day and every day, we would all do well to emulate John and recognize ourselves as disciples whom Jesus loves. His love is so different from human love, for His love alone can save souls and change lives. This is the message of His heavenly valentine to you and to me: “You are a disciple whom I love!”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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