Cupid’s Got Nothing!

Just a few days before Valentine’s Day. Lots of people are considering, what they will do for their ‘loved one’, for this annual event. It’s all about ‘love’ right?

According to historians, the predecessor to Valentine’s Day, began as a pagan fertility celebration (The feast festival of Lupercalia, on Feb. 15th each year), but Pope Gelasius, around 496AD, re-established it as Saint Valentine’s Day, to be celebrated on Feb. 14th.

There is some speculation as to which Valentine, was being celebrated by the Pope. Most narrow the choices down to three ‘Valentines’.

Some surmise, that the ‘Saint Valentine’ being honored, was a priest who fell out of favor with the Roman Empire, about 200 years before, roughly 270AD.  According to a legend, this ‘Valentine’ was put to death, by Claudious II, for performing weddings, which had been outlawed by the Emperor, due to a belief, that marriage weakened young solders.

There was another ‘Valentine’, who was incarcerated and doomed to be executed. This Valentine, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. In this legend, he sent a letter, to the daughter signed ‘from your Valentine’, just prior to his demise.

But the one that seems most likely is the Valentine who was martyred for his faith. This would seem more likely because the ‘love’ involved in this legend would be agape (God’s Love) as unopposed to Eros (Romantic Love).

As the Pope was establishing a celebration of a Saint, this would seem the most likely Valentine to me. Having a spiritual overtone, would provide the justification for naming a Saint, and the celebration in his honor.

Not so much the doomed man in love, or the priest that was performing illegal marriages.

Cupid Got Nothing Over God’s Love

Cupid is associated with the Greek god of love (Eros). The Romans used the Cupid image to represent this ‘deity’.  Was apparently introduced into the Saint Valentine’s celebration later as a secularization of the celebration.

While all of this is interesting to a certain degree, it seems a bit baffling as well when you consider the origin of the celebration, and who designated it into existence.

The secularization of special days has been something that has taken place time and time again in history.

Thanksgiving promoted as glutinous day of food, sports viewing, and a launching pad for holiday shopping sprees; instead of giving heart felt thanks to God for what we have.

Easter with brightly colored egg and chocolate bunnies; instead of the greatest gift of all, God’s Son giving of Himself to redeem His creation.

Christmas with Santa Claus, Gifts, holiday parties; instead of Immanuel and the birthday party for the Son of God.

The secularization of these events, cheapens and taint them. Regardless of this taking place, Valentine’s Day really wouldn’t be considered a Biblical holiday, as it was designated in honor of a person, not God or God’s intervention in the world.

Because it is most likely that Valentines Day, was established as a celebration surrounding ‘agape’ love, I wanted to talk about God Love and just how awesome it is. In fact, God Love does more than justify having a holiday for it, but naming it after a martyred Saint, doesn’t really elevate it to the level, of what God’s love really means.

Agape

The highest form of love.  It is sacrificial; placing the one loved, above the welfare of the one loving. It is the unselfish love, that gives without expectation, or reservation. It is the love God has for us. It is the love we should have for God.

Where it began – We could also call agape love, the most ancient and enduring of all loves.

This is because it began, when an omnipotent God who exists beyond space and time, chose to create both space and time. God did this for one purpose; so that He would have a place, to create creatures, that He could impart this agape love upon; humankind.

This is the oldest form of love, because it’s beginnings predate the establishment of time and the universe around us. Before there was a cosmos; God Loved us with agape love.

It was demonstrated in the garden – Where God created all the plants and animals; then lovingly created man and woman, in His image. He placed a soul, in each of them, as he gave them life. A soul, that would exist, for all of eternity.

John 1:1-3 (HCSB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.

He did this because His desire was, that they never die and would always be there to be loved, by Him.

He also gave them free will, because His ultimate desire was that they would love Him back with the same love, by their own choice.

Keep in mind, that God; who is not restricted by time and space; He placed free will, into his creation. He was completely aware, that they would exercise that free will, to put a wedge between themselves and Him.

Because of His unselfish love, He persisted and followed through with His plan, knowing full well, that the price to fulfill His love, would come at great expense.  Unselfish love. Sacrificial love. God love.

Beyond the Garden – Due to the choice, made by Adam and Eve, they were banned from the garden. But what was even more devastating, was the fact, that they had lost the relationship, they had been blessed with by the Creator.

Separation from God, was the ultimate result, of the original sin.  As a result, death entered into the world, which God had created.

God nonetheless, continued to love His creation unselfishly. Time and time again, He set out the opportunity, for His Creation to return to him and reciprocate the love, He had for humanity. But that simply was, beyond their ability.

Love in the Manger – The grand plan to restore this love was established before the foundations of the Earth were created. The restoration of the relationship that God had sought, when He created Adam and Eve, was what his plan provided a pathway to restore His creation to Him. Redeem the creation, and restore the relationship lost in the garden.

This restoration, would require Him lowering Himself, to be born a man and living among His creation. Immanuel, was the next step, in the progression of demonstrating the Love of God (agape).  Unselfish, sacrificial, relentless Love.

Love on a Cross – The final stage of this expression of His love, was His ultimate sacrifice on the Cross.

John 3:16-17 (HCSB)
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

This was the vehicle by which he chose to use, to absolve his creation, from the debt of sin, they had laden themselves with.

Vehicle, because it was the cross, which took on the significance, of a sacrificial altar. Sacrifice, as the Son of God, humbled Himself, to become the sacrificial Lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world.

John 1:29 (HCSB)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Jesus took the sin of the entire world, for all time, upon Himself; hanging on that cross.

With His death on that cross, effectively our debt, had been paid. No longer, was it required that we die an eternal death for our sins.

Buried, He took those sin to the grave with him.

Three days later he rose victorious from death, to vanquish sin and death forever, so that whoever believes on the name of Jesus Christ, will be free.

Romans 10:13 (HCSB)
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

That very same agape love had met every obstacle to establish a path back to a relationship with the Creator.

This is a real love story! It’s a love story, with a ‘happy ever after’ ending too. Because, the creator is coming to claim His redeemed creation, so that where He is we can be there as well.

John 14:1-3 (HCSB)
Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.

Cupid’s got nothing on the Love of Jesus. This Valentine’s Day, share the best. Share agape Love!

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