Posted by: rcottrill | March 7, 2012

O How I Love Jesus

Words: Frederick Whitfield (b. Jan. 7, 1829; d. Sept. 13, 1904)
Music: Traditional Melody (source unknown)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Frederick Whitfield wrote these words while a theological student at Trinity College, Dublin. The song was first published in 1855. Though there are nine stanzas to it, hymn books I’ve checked use only four (CH-1, 2, 4 and 5). The unused closing stanzas are also worth a look. Here they are:

CH-7) Jesus, the name I love so well,
The name I love to hear:
No saint on earth its worth can tell,
No heart conceive how dear.

CH-8) This name shall shed its fragrance still
Along this thorny road,
Shall sweetly smooth the rugged hill
That leads me up to God.

CH-9) And there with all the blood-bought throng,
From sin and sorrow free,
I’ll sing the new eternal song
Of Jesus’ love for me.

The name “Jesus,” meaning the Lord saves, or the Lord is salvation, was given to Christ by a heavenly decree, before He was born, both to Mary (Lk. 1:31), and to Joseph (Matt. 1:21). It represents both His Person (He is the Saviour), and the prospect of His saving work on the cross. “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). When His birth was first announced, it was declared, “There is born to you…a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord (Lk. 2:11).

“Jesus” is a name used of Him over 940 times in the New Testament. Several times it is used in the Old Testament too, though hidden from view in our English Bibles. When God the Son speaks, in prophecy, of His Father’s plan for His incarnation, He quotes the Father as saying, “that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth,” and Isaiah prophesies, “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isa. 49:5-6; 52:10).

In those verses, the word for “salvation” is Ye-shoo-ah, the Hebrew form of the name Jesus. When he takes the infant Jesus in his arms, in the temple, Simeon seems to allude to Isaiah 52:10, saying, “My eyes have seen Your salvation [Your Ye-shoo-ah, Your Jesus]” (Lk. 2:28, 30). He could as well have said, “My arms have held Your salvation,” because He realized that our eternal salvation is bound up in a Person.

Needless to say, because of the importance of this name, and the One it represents, there are many hymns and gospel songs that speak of the name of Jesus. Full information for many can be found on the Cyber Hymnal. Here is a small sampling:

How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds, by John Newton
At the Name of Jesus, by Carolyn Noel
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, by Edward Perronet
Precious Name (Take the Name of Jesus with You), by Lydia Baxter
The Name of Jesus, by William Martin
There Is No Name So Sweet on Earth, by George Bethune

CH-1) There is a name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in my ear,
The sweetest name on earth.

O how I love Jesus,
O how I love Jesus,
O how I love Jesus,
Because He first loved me!

1) What does the name of Jesus mean to you personally?

2) What is your favourite hymn about the name of Jesus? (And why is it your favourite?)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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