Lent can be a heavy time of the year as we focus on the journey to the cross, ponder what we might give up or add to sharpen our spiritual disciplines, and read some of the last words of wisdom from Jesus. It is not easy to focus on our shortcomings and still hold on to the mystery of God’s love for us…while we were yet sinners. My history of hymns book, Amazing Grace, used the hymn “Jesus Loves Me” for today. It seems appropriate to listen and remember that is what Lent is about. God’s love for us broke the barrier of death.
The background to the hymn is said to be a graduation speech by a brilliant theologian from Princeton who said, “Gentlemen, there is still much in this world and in the Bible that I do not understand but of one thing I am certain—Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so—and gentlemen that is sufficient.”
Miss Anna Warner wrote a poem with her sister in a children’s book that was popular in its day. A male character shares the poem with a dying child.
Jesus, love 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, tho 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.
CHORUS: Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.
This is one of the first songs we learn as children and is still a favorite. William Bradbury, a renowned contributor to the development of children’s music composed the tune in 1861 and added the chorus. Let us just take a few minutes to enjoy this old favorite with all four verses.