Since this is the season for Valentines, let’s consider. . . the greatest Valentine.
The greatest Valentine came to our world soon after A.D. dawned. It was a heart in the shape of a cross that dropped to the bottom of a hole. We were not aware of it, of course. You and I were known only to God then. So you might say the greatest Valentine was “kept in trust” for us till we showed up. Then it was slipped under our door on a day God chose to reveal it (Eph. 2:7).
For me, that day was November 18, 1973. Jesus, the Lover of my soul, became the Love of my life and my intimate companion from that day forward. I was so happy to receive the greatest Valentine!
Most of us probably remember our childhood Valentine’s Days. When I was a boy, we shared Valentines with one another at school. Do you remember comparing them with your classmates to see who had the biggest and funniest ones? Sometimes you actually got a Valentine you were secretly hoping for! After that, the rest of the day seemed to sail by like a seagull on an ocean breeze. Right? Yes, it did. You felt so happy! You could dance on the clouds! Maybe you did. When that special person gave you a Valentine, it didn’t even matter what size or color it was. It was all in the name on the card: her name on your card! It didn’t matter if others had bigger cards with the wrong name.
Unfortunately, many of us in this present world are trying to understand what love is, in the first place. But we also want to be loved. At this rate, it can be complicated.
Jesus’ love can simplify all that.
The greatest Valentine
God gave us the greatest Valentine on a cross two thousand years ago. All other Valentines pale by contrast. Seriously. There will never be a Valentine greater than that. So why not add a cherry on top? This Valentine is so special, so amazing, there is no reason to question what love is or wonder if we are loved. The greatest Valentine leaves no doubt about that.
You’re not so sure?
Come and see.
Come with me.
Follow me back through two thousand years of time to a hill far away. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.
Let your imagination take you there.
My, how time has passed. We are outside a gate now, a gate in Jerusalem. Step through the darkness (Matt. 27:45,46) to the foot of a cross. Can you feel the wood at the end of your fingers? There. Now reach higher. The head of a nail emerges from two feet. Can you feel it? And there are the feet. The toes cling tightly to the wood. Something is dripping from the end of the nail. It is someone’s blood.
Can you imagine for a moment that this is Jesus? And that we are really there below Him as He hangs on the cross? I know. It’s hard to imagine. It really is! But to know it is true draws our hearts to Him. Doesn’t it? He is taking God’s judgment for our sins and the punishment we deserve. Because He is an infinite Person, in just a few hours of time He will take our eternal punishment. That’s why the sky is black at midday. God’s judgment is falling on Jesus for our sake. This is happening now, while He hangs in the darkness, so we can have eternal life.
This is love! It is the greatest Valentine anyone could ever give us! “Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they will be as wool!”
Why would He do this?
Because He loves us.
That much? Yes. And more. . .
than we can imagine.
The love of Christ for us is so huge, it is something we cannot fully comprehend (Eph. 3:14-19). So what is it like to know His love? How can I describe it? Where do I find words? It is a voyage in the Starship Enterprise that soars far beyond what is known. And goes where no man has gone. Yet we know it is love and we know we are loved. And though we may be unable to fully comprehend it, even a child can understand it.
So. How big is the love of God in Christ?
Here is the answer. . .
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.
Thank you, Jesus!
It is Your name on our Valentine that makes all the difference.
If you need that love, my friend. If you need that forgiveness. It is yours. Jesus’ arms are open to you. As they were when He hung on the cross. . . the greatest Valentine from God’s heart to yours.
© James Unruh 2019 and beyond