Summary: A phrase by phrase examination of the children’s hymn, "Jesus Loves Me," This hymn summerizes the essence of the Christian faith.
KARL BARTH was a German theologian who dominated the theology of the 20th century. In 1962, 6 years before his death, he made his only visit to the United States. One night he lectured at a seminary in Virginia and after the lecture he met with students in the coffee shop for some informal dialogue. Someone asked him if there was any way he could summarize his vast theological findings. A student asked, “What in your judgment is the essence of the Christian faith?” Barth paused for a moment. No doubt the others waited for some profound insights from this theological giant. They got their pens and paper out and were poised. Then Barth answered, “Yes, I can summarize in a few words my understanding of the Christian faith. Let me put it this way: “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, for the Bible Tells Me So.”
Needless to say, these students were dumbfounded. They expected some deep theological statement and instead heard that which Barth learned at his mother’s knees.
I believe Barth was right. At the heart of the Christian gospel is this simple affirmation: JESUS LOVES ME!
John Wesley, in his young days took his sermons and read them to an old domestic servant. He told her to stop him every time he said something she didn’t understand. His manuscripts became masses of changes, alterations, erasures, and additions---but they were able to be understood by common folks.
And so it is with the childhood hymn, “Jesus Loves Me”---so much so, that if we’re not careful, its message can be overlooked. So, then, let’s take the time to carefully break down the first verse of this hymn.
1. JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW
One of our basic needs as humans is to know that we are loved. Why is that? Its because of what happens inside us. To be loved is to:
- be accepted
- be appreciated
- realize that you have value
How much more a blessing it is when we realize that we are loved by Jesus Christ. How do I know that Jesus loves me? I know it because…
- the Word of God declares it, as in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- The Spirit of God has convinced me
- He has forgiven me
- He has changed me---now I even love my enemies!
- His abiding presence is real: Its real, its real, oh I know its real. Praise God the doubts are settled for I know, I know its real.”
If you have trusted Christ to save you, let me remind you that there is nothing which can separate us from His love---not death, or the powers of hell or our fears of today or our worries of tomorrow.
One day, C.H. Spurgeon was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, the evangelist noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: GOD IS LOVE. Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought this was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. “Weather vanes are changeable,” he said, “but God’s love is constant.” “I don’t agree with you about those words, Charles,” replied his friend. “You misunderstood the meaning. That sign is indicating a truth: Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love.”
All through His life here on earth, Jesus was saying to people: “I love you.” When He healed the sick, touched the untouchable, loved the unlovely, He was saying, “I love you.”
When He endured the insults, the treacheries, and even the disloyalties of His followers, He was saying, “Nothing you can do will ever stop me from loving you.”
When He was flogged and nailed to the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for thye don’t know what they are doing.” You see, in that prayer He was saying, “You can flog me, you can crucify me, but it will not stop me from loving you.”
William Dixon was a widower who had lost his only son. One day he saw that the house of one of his neighbors was on fire. Although the owner was quickly rescued, her orphaned grandson was trapped in the blaze. Dixon climbed an iron pipe on the side of the house and lowered the boy to safety.
His hand that held to the pipe was badly burned.
Shortly after the fire, the grandmother died. The townspeople wondered who would care for the boy. Two volunteers appeared before the town council. One was a father who lost his son and would like to adopt the orphan as his own. William Dixon was to speak next, but instead of saying anything he merely held up his scarred hand. When the vote was taken, the boy was given to him. (#1939, Encyclopedia of Illustrations).