How Valentine’s Day Points to Our Need for Jesus

How Valentine’s Day Points to Our Need for Jesus

Here’s a fun fact: you can’t stop the earth from orbiting around the sun. This leads to another—maybe fun, maybe dreadful—fact: you can’t stop the earth from approaching that spot in its annual journey which we mark as February 14. Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is once again upon us. 

 

Valentine’s Day can elicit a wide spectrum of feelings. For some, it’s a day better referred to as Singles Awareness Day—a bitter reminder of the romantic love we want but have not yet found. For others, it’s a day to eagerly look forward to and plan out in advance with flowers, chocolates, and a romantic dinner. Some, while loving their significant other, may feel stressed by the pressure they feel to go all-out and spend money they don’t have. And then there are those for whom Valentine’s Day is a reminder of the struggles they are currently walking through as a couple. 

 

History of Valentine’s Day

 

Who exactly is this Saint Valentine that we have to thank/blame for this day that bears his name? 

 

That’s a question without a clear answer. The Catholic Church recognizes multiple men with that name, all of whom were martyrs, so it’s not even clear which Valentine that Saint Valentine’s Day—officially declared to be February 14th in the fifth century—recognizes. Some believe the day recognizes a priest who performed weddings for young men in defiance of Emperor Cladius, who thought unmarried men would make better soldiers. Others think Valentine had been imprisoned and wrote a letter to the jailer’s daughter signed “from your Valentine,” leading to the practices of exchanging Valentine cards today. 

 

But regardless of which Valentine is commemorated on February 14, by the Middle Ages, the connection of this day to romantic love had been established. 

 

Jesus and Valentine’s Day

 

Valentine’s Day—with its in-your-face emphasis on romantic love—can feel like a day to endure for some, and a day to anticipate for others. But for all Christians, regardless of their relationship status, this day presents a unique and helpful reminder.

 

We see that reminder in John 6, a chapter that begins with Jesus feeding a crowd of five thousand with only two small fish and five loaves of bread. The crowd was only too happy to eat the physical bread, but they failed to see what this sign revealed about Jesus. In John 6:35, Jesus says: 

 

“I am the bread of life…No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.”

Jesus is the Bread of Life | TDGC

Jesus is not talking about physical hunger here but spiritual hunger. Yes, He can satisfy physical hunger. But He can also satisfy the deepest longings and desires of our souls. Physical hunger can be satisfied by eating food, but such satisfaction is temporary. Even after a feast, our stomachs will begin to hunger and need to be satisfied yet again. But when our souls feast on Jesus, no further need for satisfaction remains. 

 

Scholars such as D.A. Carson clarify that this doesn’t mean that “there is no need for continued dependence upon him, for continued feeding him.” Rather, “there is no longer that core emptiness that the initial encounter with Jesus has met” (Carson, 288). Commentator Bruce Milne writes, “Jesus alone can satisfy the heart. In a society which has experimented to the point of satiation with every form of material physical and spiritual palliative to fill the inner emptiness of its heart, Jesus’ invitation comes with wonderful relevance...” (Milne, 111).

 

There is a core, inner emptiness in our hearts that only Jesus can satisfy. And we will be frustrated and left aching for more when we attempt to fill that emptiness with other things. This includes romantic love, which is often pursued as if—once obtained—our lives will be “complete.” Not only will that belief end in disappointment (even in a healthy relationship!), it is a terrible burden to place on another person. Only Jesus can shoulder the burden of truly satisfying us. 

Only Jesus can truly satisfy us | TDGC

If Valentine’s Day finds you longing for a relationship that you don’t have, use this day to remember that your deepest aches of desire can’t be satisfied in anyone but Jesus. Remind yourself also that God isn’t holding out on you—that He has given you His best by sending Jesus (Romans 8:32).

Your deepest desires can only be satisfied in Jesus | TDGC

If this Valentine’s Day finds you having a romantic dinner and receiving flowers, give God thanks for these gifts. But allow the presence of these gifts in your life to point you to God’s greatest gift, and the only gift that can satisfy you: Jesus Christ. 

 

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent, the season leading up to Easter and one marked in part by an increased emphasis on how we can make more room for Jesus in our lives. Make Christ a part of this Valentine’s Day by following along in our new Lent study, From Death to Life!

 

Bibliography:

 

Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991. 

 

Milne, Bruce. The Message of John. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993. 

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