Happy Valentines Day!
The first version is that he helped marry Christians secretly who were suffering persecution, this was considered a crime. He was imprisoned for this crime and while in prison attempted to convert the Emperor. For this he was beaten with clubs but when this failed to kill him he was beheaded.
The second version is that he was under house arrest by Judge Asterius. While there Valentinus began to discuss the validity of Jesus with Asterius. Asterius decided to test Valentinus’ claims by bringing his blind daughter Julia for Valentinus to heal. If Valentinus could heal Julia then he could have anything he wanted. Valentinus laid hands on Julia’s eyes and her sight was immediately restored. The Judge was humbled and asked Valentinus what he wanted. Valentinus requested that the judge break all his idols and be baptized. The Judge did so and in addition set all the Christian prisoners free. He and his household were all baptized. Later Valentinus was re-arrested and tried to convert the Emperor. The Emporer gave Valentinus the option to either renounce his faith or die. Valentinus refused to renounce and was beheaded.
The common thread of these stories is a man who preached the gospel even in the midst of persecution. It is the greatest love imaginable according to Jesus. In John 15:13-14 Jesus tells His disciples that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends. Who is our greatest friend? Jesus goes on to say that we are HIS friends. Valentinus, out of his love for Jesus was willing to risk everything to preach the gospel to the Emperor. He gave his life for the sake of love.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
What people in your life have you been unwilling to share Jesus with? Maybe it is time to “count the cost” and lay down fear and passivity for radical love.