Jesus Loves Me
Bible Reading: John 3:16-21
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
She was bedridden and in much pain. I spoke to her of the comfort and peace availed to us in Jesus. Tears flowed from her eyes as I sang for her that familiar song, a song she herself had played many times on a church piano many years before.
Jesus Loves Me is one of the most popular and endearing Christian hymns ever written. It is often the first Christian song taught by missionaries to new believers in foreign lands and has been used by God to bring comfort and hope to millions of souls. You’ve no doubt sung it many times yourself.
It was written by Anna B. Warner. Anna and Susan Warner were highly educated Christian young women who lived along the Hudson River in the time preceding the Civil War. Their mother died when they were children. Their father, a wealthy and influential New York lawyer, died not long after losing everything but his home in an economic depression. They were left to themselves with a need to find an income to provide for their needs, which they did by writing books.
They lived near the United States Military Academy and ministered to young cadets who would soon be headed off to war. In fact, Anna’s body is buried on the grounds of the Military Academy, having thus been honored for her faithful spiritual support of the Army cadets.
The text of the hymn “Jesus Loves Me” was a part of a fictional book she wrote entitled,“Say and Seal.” In the book, a young and dying child, Johnny Fax, is comforted by a Mr. Linden. Johnny looks to Mr. Linden for comfort and hope, and Mr. Linden responds by gently patting Johnny and reciting the words of the poem:
Jesus loves me! this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.
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.
Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Then His little child He’ll take
Up to heaven for His dear sake.
The chorus was added, and the music was written by William B. Bradbury sometime later. The hymn speaks to the most basic, yet important, of Christian truths—the love of Jesus revealed in His death upon the cross. The Bible speaks to us of this amazing truth—He “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Amidst all the troubles and challenges and uncertainty we face, this beautiful song speaks of that One unchangeable truth which ministers hope to our souls even amidst the most difficult of circumstances—my Savior loves me!