Jesus Loves Me This I Know (Yes, Jesus Loves Me)

 Anna Bartlett Warner (1827-1915)

Jesus loves 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!
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.”

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

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.

A story is told of one old retired preacher who had served as a pastor for over 50 years. He was asked to sum up in a few words what he’d learned from his 50 plus years of Christian ministry. He answered “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” He was of course quoting the hymn, “Jesus Loves Me” written by Anna B. Warner. Without doubt the hymn Jesus Loves Me this I know, has influenced children for Christ more than any other. You also probably grew up singing this lovely children’s song.

The text of this hymn was written by Anna Bartlett Warner in 1860 in collaboration with her sister, Susan, as part of one of the best-selling novels of that day. The novel was written by Susan, entitled Say and Seal.   In the novel, one of the characters, Mr. Linden, comforted Johnny Fax, a dying child, with the words of “Jesus Loves Me.”

Anna B. Warner was born on August 31st 1820 and lived till 1915. She had a sister called Susan whom they worked with. The two girls lost their mother when they were very young due to birth complications after the birth of Anna. Their father, Henry, was a New York lawyer and he raised the girls with help from his sister, Frances.  Before Anna’s teen years ended, the family faced another major change. The family faced a financial tragedy and as way of surviving they had to sell their townhouse. They had to relocate to their summer home a residence that was on Constitution Island, across the Hudson River from West Point. Their father Henry had purchased the island only three years earlier after a visit to his brother, Thomas, who served as West Point’s chaplain.

Along the way, Anna and Susan came to a personal Christian faith. The sisters found a way to share their faith on Constitution Island. They began conducting a Sunday afternoon Bible class for West Point cadets. Susan led the studies until her death in 1885. Then Anna carried on until her death in 1915. None of the two sisters ever married.

Their father Henry died when the girls were just bout 13 and 16 and they had to fend for themselves. Their support came from writing. Susan found success with her 1850 novel the Wide, Wide World. Anna’s novels were not as good as her sister’ s. Anna however wrote a poem that she included in Susan’s 1860 novel Say and Seal. That one poem spoke to a dying child but beyond that child it has comforted many living children since and more than a few adults as well.  Later on, a Christian music leader, William Bradbury, discovered Anna’s poem and turned it into a hymn by adding music and a chorus. He published “Jesus Loves Me” in 1862.

The song has had much influence in the entire world. Its appeal seems to lie in its childlike simplicity of faith. The first verse reminds us in simple terms that Jesus loves each of us person-ally, that the Bible is our source for knowing His love, that we need His help, and that we can be assured He cares: “Jesus loves me! this I know, for the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong, They are weak, but He is strong.”

Anna, who lived into her nineties, also wrote the lyrics for the children’s hymn “Praise Him, Praise Him, All Ye Little Child-ren.” Her biography of Susan, who preceded her in death by thirty years, was published in 1909. When Anna passed away in 1915, her casket was placed alongside Susan’s in the West Point cemetery. Constitution Island was later given to West Point. It’s one of the Hudson River Valley’s historic tourist attractions.

There are many adult connections to the song “Jesus Loves Me.” A most recent one is its association with the late Whitney Houston. She sang it in the movie The Body Guard. Christian singer BeBe Winans received a Grammy Award for co-producing the song on the film’s soundtrack. BeBe’s sister CeCe sang “Jesus Loves Me” at Whitney’s funeral.

No matter how devastating the sin of the first man- Adam, the redemptive work of the second man, – Jesus Christ, reverses the consequences of that sin and restores people to the favour of God. Only by grasping the seriousness of the first is one able to appreciate the remarkable magnanimity of the second. Jesus loves me this much I know

This entry was posted in Hymns Alive and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s