Beyond the beer, leprechauns, and green rivers, there is much to know about St Patrick, today’s namesake. For example, did you know St Patrick was not really Irish?
Born Maewyn Succat, he was trafficked into slavery in Ireland at the age of 16 and forced to shepherd sheep. Much like King David of Israel, Patrick spent several years suffering hardship and danger, and learning to rely upon God. Once freed, he began to study for the ministry, but was deeply troubled by the pagan darkness of Ireland, from where he escaped.
However, in dreams and visions, God called him to return to the place of his enslavement, so he returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. The spirit of God was upon Patrick and, at times using a 3-leaf clover to illustrate Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, many came to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
But, if Patrick was not Irish, what nationality was he? Interestingly, evidence suggests he was Jewish and, in fact, perhaps from the tribe of Judah!
Following the final Jewish revolt against the Romans in 135 AD, Jewish communities (some Messianic) popped up throughout the Mediterranean region, where they maintained Jewish customs and lifestyle. One aristocratic dynasty was revered for following Jesus, and records indicate Patrick was part of the aristocracy known to have followed Him.
Why were St Patrick’s Messianic roots relatively unknown? Perhaps because being Messianic in the 5th century was a challenge. Jews shunned Messianics, and Antisemitism was rampant in the church. Thus, it was just not an easy road for a Messianic Jew. Yet, praise God, even in obscurity St Patrick put substance to the shadow and preached the Gospel throughout Ireland!
Yesterday was 3/16, a day to share John 3:16 with others. Today, let’s extend that practice by adding the boldness of St Patrick to share the Gospel in a dark, pagan place. After all, that seems to be the situation in America and around the world, so make a difference in your world today by boldly sharing John 3:16!