Jesus Loves Me

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Jesus Loves Me - The History
This popular song has been loved among children and adults alike since it was written in 1860. Anna B. Warner wrote the original version and later David Rutherford McGuire added stanzas two and three. Anna’s sister Susan had asked her to write a song for a Sunday School teacher who wanted to cheer a dying boy. No wonder the lyrics have brought a smile to many children and assurance to adults! The song first appeared in a novel, Say and Seal. In 1862, William B. Bradbury composed the music and added the refrain. The following are the rich lyrics to the song, “Jesus Loves Me.”

Jesus Loves Me - The Lyrics
“Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Refrain:

“Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.


“Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, ‘Let them come to Me.’

Repeat Refrain

“Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Repeat Refrain

“Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Repeat Refrain

“Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Repeat Refrain

(Note: this next stanza from the original is commonly omitted in hymnals)

“Jesus loves me! Loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill,
That I might from sin be free
Bled and died upon the tree.”

Jesus Loves Me - Sound Biblical Theology
The song “Jesus Loves Me” claims Christ’s devotion to me, but how can that be true? As a sinner, wouldn’t the holy God despise me? Thankfully, the song is not hopeful delusion but rather sound, biblical theology. While God hated my sin, His love for me compelled Him to give up His beloved Son. Jesus, God the Son, loved us so much He died a terrible death to pay the just penalty for our sins (John 3:16). As the lyrics say,

“Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.”

Yes, Jesus loves me and He loves you. How can I be so sure of Christ’s love? “The Bible tells me so.” Let’s examine the Scripture behind the song.

Jesus Loved His Disciples
In John 15:9-17, the Bible strongly testifies that Jesus loved His twelve disciples. His love was not a passing affection but an abiding, self-sacrificing devotion. Moreover, the context of the passage reinforces that we His future disciples are loved by Jesus. He calls us His friends!

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit -- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:9-17).

These verses shed light on other portions of the song’s lyrics: “As he loved so long ago” and “He who died.” Jesus loved His disciples, and “Jesus Loves Me” so much that He laid down His life for me.

Jesus Loves Children
The song lyrics of “Jesus Loves Me” state that Jesus welcomed children:

“Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, ‘Let them come to Me.’”

The Bible passage the song refers to is Mark 10:13-16: “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”

The Bible is drenched with verses, content, and context affirming the relevant truths to the song, “Jesus Loves Me.” This leads to the question, how should you respond to this powerful hymn?

Jesus Loves Me - Will you let the Bible tell you so?
The truth of Christ’s love for me is simple to say yet difficult to believe. It takes faith -- faith provided by God. The term “love” evokes a relationship, commitment, devotion. The lyrics of the song even tell Christ’s faithfulness: “Jesus loves me still today” and “Walking with me on my way.”

Paul’s Testimony
The Apostle Paul shares that Jesus loves us today and is with us all the way: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

Many kids throughout the world have never experienced the truth that “Jesus Loves Me.” If you’re looking for a tangible way to share the love of Jesus with children in need, please consider Compassion International.

Learn More About Jesus!


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