Yes, Jesus loves me

Jesus love me this I knowOIP-19

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong

They are weak but He is strong

 

Marti tells me this is the first song she remembers me singing. It was before we met, and I was singing at a church she attended only because she was dating the pastor’s son. Ironically, the son was taking a bit of vacation from the Lord at the time, but that didn’t stop the Lord from using his library, his dad, and other Christians in his circle to bring her to faith and set her off on a solid track of discipleship. I always love that story because it so clearly indicates who leads us to the Lord. The Lord does, and He can use anybody and anything.

The song, “Jesus Loves Me” has always intrigued me with its childlike simplicity and yet its depth — certainly deeper than most children who sing it and love it are capable of grasping. Karl Barth, the great theologian, held that the first two lines summarized the essence of the Christian faith.

The words “this I know” hold great significance because they are a statement not only of faith, but of confidence. Our belief is built on what the scriptures reveal to us, and the scriptures are reliable documents we can trust. But beyond that is the confidence God puts in our hearts by the Holy Spirit in us. The story goes that this song was introduced to the Christian church in China by missionaries and in order to avoid persecution identifying themselves as Christians, they instead called themselves “the ‘this I know’ people.” I like that much better than “Christian,” don’t you?

But the deepest part of this little song is found in the last two lines. First, it’s the little ones who belong to Christ, and that doesn’t mean just little children. It means those who have been humbled by life and by confessing their sin to the perfect God and judge of the universe, who, though He could crush us, has miraculously decided to show us mercy instead. That will humble anybody.

Marti remembers that when I sang this song that night in church to a crowd of adults, I said that if they somehow thought they were too old for this song, then they were too old. We all come in through the low gate like the camel through the “eye of the needle.” No one can enter the kingdom of God without becoming like a child. That’s why this song is for everybody.

And finally, there is God’s strength that meets us in our weakness. This is something that adults get more than children are able to grasp because weakness is something that is real to us in so many ways. It is the essence of the new covenant — His power made perfect in our frail, mortal bodies. How weak we feel right now. How out of control of our circumstances. How one little invisible bug can wipe out our plans, our futures, our finances, our day-to-day existence. How small and how weak we are, yet how strong and how great He is. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows the future. He is in control when nothing else feels solid. This is what we can count on: We are weak, but He is strong.

So we can sing,

Yes, Jesus loves me

Yes, Jesus loves me

(One more time)

Yes, Jesus loves me

(And how do I know that?)

The Bible tells me so

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4 Responses to Yes, Jesus loves me

  1. John A Fagliano says:

    It was at first written as a poem for a dying child. A few years later it was re-written as a song. Here are the full versions of both;

    Poem by Anna Bartlett Warner
    As originally published in 1860, it appeared in three stanzas, as follows:

    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—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 will take,
    Up to heaven for his dear sake.

    Hymn by William Batchelder Bradbury

    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 he who died
    heaven’s gate to open wide.
    He will wash away my sin,
    let his little child come in.

    Refrain

    Jesus loves me, this I know,
    as he loved so long ago,
    taking children on his knee,
    saying, “Let them come to me.”

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    I too used to love this song, until I learned of a bit of not really well use of logic in it. Of course ANY book such as the Bible that claims God is real is going to also say Jesus it real too!

    So has my old College Logic professor was having a bit of fun knocking this song’s piss poor use of logic, (his words not mine) So I told him @ my time to discuss this, I don’t claim a kiddies song – nor the Bible as far as that goes to try and prove by believe in Jesus as the Son of God, I know the change He performed through His Holy Spirit in my heart one day & I haven’t been the same since!

    PS And get this! When I finished more of less giving my testimony – the Professor stood and cheered! Saying he completely agree with my use of logic! Even thou he didn’t agree with Christianity and a lot of what the so called Church does! But I simply cannot argue w/ Mr. Seguin logic and his changed life for the better – he concluded I could, but simply won’t because it would violate any & all debating / people skills he holds dear… Praise God for His sometimes inspiring me…

    • jwfisch says:

      Way to go, Mark. What you were explaining was the “this I know” part. You were talking about your personal experience and the confidence your faith has given you. He’s right. To base anything on the Bible is only going to work for those who accept the Bible as a source of truth. Not everyone does. That’s where your experience is a stronger truth. Of course people could argue with your experience, but that would be to discredit you.

  3. Cannon Ingalls says:

    We sing this to our 2 youngest (4 & almost 3) every night before bed. I’ve changed 1 word though. We sing that ‘We are weak but He is strong.’ Its a signal for us, mainly me, that I am part of The World Jesus talks about in John 3. We are all part of the Little Ones. Frankly, with that 1 word change, its gone from a kids song to a more profound declaration of our dependence in Christ.

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