Sunday, March 24, 2013

Jesus Loves Me! This I know

"Yes, I can. In the words of a song I learned at my mother’s knee: 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'" ~ Karl Barth

I generally do not agree with Karl Barth's theology, but even so, I must admit that he was a formidable mind, incredibly influential, and did help beat back many of the attacks of liberal "Christian" scholarship. While he was on a lecture tour of the US in 1962, he spoke at Rockefeller Chapel on the University of Chicago campus. During the Q&A session a student asked him if he could sum up his theology in a single sentence, and the above quote was his answer. As much as I disagree with him in many areas of theology, that simple statement is something we Christians can and must always go back to.

Recently, I learned all the words to "Jesus Loves Me." I am astonished that I never knew there are four verses to this most famous of children's songs. And, they are really good! The song was written by Anna and Susan Warner in 1860 as part of their novel: Say and Seal. The words were spoken by the character Mr. Linden for the comfort Johnny Fax, a dying little boy. Very few people have even heard of the novel, but the song is one of the most famous (if not the most famous) children's hymns of all time. Here is the whole thing:

Jesus love me! this I know, 
for the Bible tells me so. 
Little ones to Him belong; 
they are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me. (3x) 
The Bible tells me so.

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! He who died 
heaven's gate to open wide. 
He will wash away my sin. 
Let His little child come in.


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.


I love those words because they express the gospel in a simple children's song. They even give us the reason we strive for holiness. It is not to make God love us more because if we are in Christ, He loves us as much as He loves Jesus, to which we cannot add anything. Remember that: if you are in Christ--if you have truly repented and confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior--you cannot make God love you any more or any less. Also, the reason is not to avert God's anger because if we are in Christ, Jesus has already done that for us too. It is to show God our thankfulness for all He has done for us in Jesus' work of redemption--"Thou hast bled and died for me; I will henceforth live for Thee."

The truth of the gospel is that simple and that deep. It is like a river where the strong can swim in deep, and the weak and broken can walk across easily. Dive deep into the depths of the gospel every day. Let it soak into every nook and cranny of your life, but on the days when you think everything is against you, remember "Jesus loves me! this I know" and let that be enough.

By His Grace,

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