Posted by: rcottrill | May 9, 2011

Jesus Loves Me

Words: Anna Bartlett Warner (b. Aug. 31, 1827; d. Jan. 22, 1915)
Music: China, by William Batchelder Bradbury (b. Oct. 6, 1816; d. Jan. 7, 1868)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Anna Warner wrote the four stanzas I’ve given. The last two lines of the fourth stanza were originally: “Then His little child will take / Up to heav’n for His dear sake.” In most hymn books, this awkward phrasing was later amended to what you see below. William Bradbury added the refrain when he wrote the tune. The story behind this hymn is recounted in the Wordwise Hymns link. It bears the distinction of being first sung by a man who never existed!

CH-1) Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me–
The Bible tells me so.

The wonderful love of the Lord Jesus for us is firmly established in the Word of God. In Anna Warner’s words, “The Bible tells [us] so.”

We discover there “the love of Christ which passes [surpasses] knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). We learn that, “the Son of God…loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). And “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). God’s Word reassures us, asking, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ” (Rom. 8:35)–and the passage goes on to declare that nothing can, or will, break that tie (vs. 35-39). In our service for the Lord, we find “the love of Christ compels us [urges us on]” (II Cor. 5:14).

In the last hours before He was crucified, we read of the Saviour, “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end [completely, to the uttermost extent]” (Jn. 13:1). Of course, when God says it, that settles it! But we have even more evidence of Christ’s love for us beyond direct statements about it.

Creation is another. The Son of God was an active agent in the creation of all things, including man (Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2). And in His omniscient deity He knew about human weakness, and knew the fall was coming, with all its devastating consequence. That means He knew, from the beginning, that if these frail creatures of dust were to be rescued from eternal ruin, He would have to die for them. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8; cf. I Pet. 1:18-20). That He would commit Himself, even then, to take sin’s punishment in our place is an evidence of His love for us.

Then, there is Christ’s earthly ministry to consider. Time and again He reached out to the sick and sinful, and to those disenfranchised by the self-righteous Jewish leadership of His day. When they called Him “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Lk. 7:34), it was not meant as a compliment–but it was true! Ten times, the writers of the four Gospels speak of the “compassion” of the Lord Jesus, His merciful love for those in need.

“When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36; cf. 14:14; 15:32; 20:34).

CH-2) Jesus loves me, loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill;
From His shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.

The supreme demonstration of the love of Christ came at Calvary (Gal. 2:20). In addition, and infinitely beyond, the physical suffering He endured, was the charge against Him of all the world’s sin, from the beginning of time to the end. Heaped upon the sinless Son of God were all the sins of all humanity, for all time. And in His darkest hour, God the Father averted His gaze from His dear Son, and He hung forsaken upon a rugged cross (Mk. 15:33-34).

CH-3) Jesus loves me–He who died,
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

And we see Christ’s love for us reflected in His future plans for the family of God. He longs for our companionship and fellowship, and is looking forward to us joining Him in the heavenly kingdom. Jesus says, “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:3). He even prayed to His heavenly Father that this might be so: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am” (Jn. 17:24). There, throughout an endless eternity, we’ll continue to worship Him (Rev. 5:11-13), and serve Him (Rev. 22:3).

CH-4) Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
If I love Him, when I die
He will take me home on high.

Finally, we need to keep in mind that a good children’s hymn can also be a blessing to adults. One time when I was leading a Bible study centred around the truths expressed in Anna Warner’s lovely song, one of the participants told us a moving story.

Some years ago, she had a stroke, which severely damaged her ability to speak. A speech therapist told her to try singing songs she knew, to practice forming words. Being a devoted Christian, she’d known many hymns and gospel choruses–but now, they were all obliterated from her memory. She could recall none of them. So she painstakingly began to relearn Jesus Loves Me, line by line. It was that hymn the Lord used to restore her speech.

Questions:
1) Given the Bible verses used above (and perhaps others you know of) what are some characteristics of the love of Christ?

2) How does Christ’s love differ from the usual human expression of what is often called “love”?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


Responses

  1. My pastor did an interesting sermon once on God’s love, specifically regarding the unsaved.

    This is the premise, or, at least, this is what I understand from what he was trying to convey:

    God loves us who love Him.
    The Bible never extends the love of God to those who do not choose Him.
    Even John 3:16: “For God so loved the world” ….examine the tense in the original text of the word “loved.” This tense was used to express something that happened one time, in the past.

    So, this is my understanding: God loved us. He gave us His Son. He awaits our response.

    To extend this thought out further: To tell unsaved people that “God loves you” isn’t entirely accurate, biblically.
    To tell people that “God LOVED you, and sent His Son to prove that” would be more accurate.

    The few times in the Bible where God says that He loves someone – that someone is someone who loves Him.

    What do you think? You and I both proclaim Jesus is Lord. I do believe God loves us. He has certainly demonstrated His mercy and affection in my life. Yes, Jesus loves me, and the Bible does tell me so. But…what about the unsaved? Does the Bible say that God loves them, now that the life, indeed, the very breath, of His Son, has been extended on their behalf?

    • Oh my! We’re in deep water here. But I disagree–respectfully–with your pastor. God loves (present tense) sinners today. Otherwise, they’d have no opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved.

      “God loves us who love Him”? Well, the Bible says just the opposite. “ In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins….We love Him because He first loved us” (I Jn. 4:10, 19). “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). But there is more to His love than that.

      The Bible speaks of “His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses” (Eph. 2:4). To say that God loved sinners in the past, as seen at Calvary, but not today, doesn’t make sense. God’s love is rooted in sovereign grace, not in human merit. And His love is displayed not only in the death of Christ, but in every proclamation of the gospel now. The tender heart of the Lord longs to see sinners turn to Him and be saved. “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9; cf. Ezek. 33:11; Matt. 23:37).

      No question the family love of God for His born again children has a special depth and intimacy to it. But that doesn’t mean He has no love at all for lost sinners. He does. And I believe the Spirit of God empowers us to have the same. “The love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5). (“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them,” Lk. 6:32.)

      Because of the power of divine love given to us, “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22), we have an intimate familial affection for our own natural children, and also for our brothers and sisters in Christ. But, as well, we are enabled to extend love and forgiveness to those who have wronged us. And it’s the love that compels Christians to be ambassadors for Christ (II Cor. 5:14, 20). The love that compels missionaries to leave their homeland and kindred, to carry the precious truth of the gospel to sinners whom they’ve never even met, facing hardship, rejection and even persecution, from the very ones they’ve come to help.

      Great question! Hope my few thoughts are a help.


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