A few years ago I was watching a telecast of one of Billy Graham’s crusades. In his message he said that a reporter once asked him which hymn did he think was the best one ever written. He said he answered without hesitation, “Jesus Loves Me”. He said it has the gospel of Jesus presented in such simple, straightforward language that even a young child can understand its message.
Recently, I was given a book called “Then Sings My Soul” by Robert J. Morgan. It is a compilation of some of our best known hymns and how they came to be written. The hymn ‘Jesus Loves Me” is included in the selections.
Around the time of the Civil War, there were two sisters, Anna and Susan Warner, whose family fortune was lost. To help pay off their indebtedness, the sisters wrote poems and stories for publication. They lived in an old Revolution War-era home on the Hudson River across from the West Point Academy where they conducted Bible classes for forty years. Because of their many years of faithfulness there, they are the only civilians buried at the Academy.
One of their most successful projects was a novel titled “Say and Seal”. The novel became a bestseller, second only to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. In this story a little boy is dying. To comfort him, his Sunday school teacher takes him in his arms and sings a little song: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” When William Bradbury, a well-known hymn writer, read these words, he composed a tune to go along with them. It soon became the best-known children’s hymn in the world.
Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-15
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9
“Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:13-14
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13