In 385 A.D. a man named Maewyn was born. He came from a typical middle class family of the day but spiritually considered himself a pagan until after he was sixteen. That was the time of his life when a group of marauders raided his village and sold him into slavery. During his years of captivity, Maewyn became closer to God and finally made a personal decision for Christ.
About his salvation he later wrote a simple statement of faith that led to his life’s passion as a missionary.
- Eternal life is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Whoever believes shall be saved, and whoever does not believe will be condemned.
- Thus shall sinners and deceivers perish from the face of the earth, but the righteous shall feast continually with Christ.
After six years of slavery, Maewyn escaped and went to Gaul where he studied in a monastery for twelve years. Here he became aware that God was calling him to preach the message of Jesus Christ to the lost souls of his day.
After prayerful consideration he decided to return to the homeland of the very people who had raided his village and sold him into slavery. He wanted, above all else, to share the good news of the gospel of Christ to his former enemies.
With love in his heart and God’s passion in his words, his missionary efforts were very successful at winning people to Jesus and, like so many faithful missionaries since, the local government and religious leaders became upset. In Maewyn’s case, the Celtic Druids had him arrested several times, but he escaped each time and continued his mission of sharing Christ with the lost folk of the countryside. So, for thirty years he traveled extensively setting up schools and planting churches.
Maewyn, the faithful missionary and man of God, died on March 17 in 461. That day has been commemorated under his adopted Christian name of Patrick as Saint Patrick’s Day.
One of the legends about Patrick is that his preaching drove all the snakes from Ireland. Since no snakes were ever native to Ireland, many scholars believe this is a metaphor for his ministry of winning the lost for Christ. Revelation 12:9 refers to Satan as the “serpent of old.”
And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
And Patrick knew that people who didn’t know Jesus were slaves to “the serpent’s” control. He was also well aware that all the way back in the book of Genesis, Satan is shown as a snake whose future was set in prophecy. Immediately after the Devil’s deception and man’s embrace of that sin, God pronounced judgment on Satan, “the snake,” and then, in loving kindness, gave mankind the first glimpse of the gospel message. This verse is called the Protevangelium (Lat.) which means the “first preaching of the gospel.” Speaking to the snake, God said,
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15
This promise that the woman’s seed would crush Satan’s head at the cost of a temporary suffering was a prophecy fulfilled in the virgin birth, life, and death of Christ on the cross. …. A temporary hurt suffered by the Lord in order to pay the penalty for sin and destroy Satan’s (the snake’s) hold on sinful man.
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. John 8:42–45
Quite literally, Patrick’s faithful preaching of Jesus Christ as man’s answer to sin and judgment drove Satan, the snake, from the lives of Irish believers and therefore figuratively from Ireland. So remember, this Saint Patrick’s Day celebrates the life of a godly missionary and is not about green beer, shamrocks, and corn beef with cabbage, although our culture would have us celebrate the snakes rather than the saint.
Patrick spent his life telling people about the saving message that God’s own Son suffered and died on a terrible cross in order to crush Satan’s hold on you and me. Now that is indeed reason to celebrate! Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Think about it…