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The True Story of St. Valentine

In the third century the cruel roman emperor, Claudius Gothicus, banned marriage for young men, preferring them to take casual lovers instead. His reasoning was that unattached men would be more willing to die in his army than married men. Christianity also continued to be forbidden during his reign.

During that time there was a young Christian leader named Valentine. He not only spread the good news about Jesus but also continued to perform marriages. When he was discovered, he was arrested and put in jail.

The jailer saw an opportunity. His daughter, Julia – now a young woman, had been born blind. The jailer had heard stories of Christians doing miracles. Perhaps there was something Valentine could do for Julia. So he brought his daughter to Valentine.

Valentine told Julia the good news about Jesus – that all she had to do was confess with her mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in her heart that God raised him from the dead and she would be saved. And that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. She believed in Jesus. When Valentine prayed for her, her eyes were opened. God healed her!

The jailer continued to bring Julia to visit Valentine. He taught her how to read so that she would be able to read the scriptures. They enjoyed each other’s company and, over the course of many visits, an innocent love grew between them.

Finally, Valentine was brought before emperor Claudius. When Valentine tried to share the good news about Jesus with the emperor, Valentine was condemned to death. Immediately he was taken out and beaten with clubs. But he lived. So a formal execution was scheduled.

Knowing that he would never see Julia again, he wrote her a note, just before his death. Valentine was beheaded on February 14, 270.

Julia received the note. In it, Valentine expressed his love for her, urged her to keep following Jesus no matter what, and reminded her that they would see each other again in the place where Jesus would wipe away every tear and where there would be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. The note was signed, “Your Valentine.”

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