“YES, JESUS LOVES ME”
By Wayne S. Walker
The story is told of a well-known theologian and brilliant professor at Princeton who always left his graduating class with these words. He 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!”
The fact that Jesus loves us is one of the central themes of the Bible. “So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, “Where I am going, you cannot come,” so now I say to you. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another: (John 13:31-34).
Here, Jesus predicates our love for one another squarely on His love for us. All the so-called great world religions teach people to love their fellow man. But Christianity is the only one that is built on the concept of divine love for mankind. I would like to suggest three reasons why we can say with absolute assurance, “Yes, Jesus Loves Me.”
Jesus Died for Me
Reason number one is that Jesus died for me. This fact was prophesied in Old Testament. “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him….He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth” (Isaiah 53.1-9).
We know that this is a prophecy of Jesus’s death because in Acts 8.27-35 Philip began at this same Scripture and preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. According to eyewitness accounts of Christ’s death in gospels, things happened just as Isaiah had prophesied them some 700 years before. Critics have suggested a “two-Isaiah” theory, one who wrote in 700 B. C. and another who went back after certain events happened and filled them in as prophecies to make it look as if Isaiah were a prophet. However, know that the entire book of Isaiah was completed at least some 200 years before Christ because it was translated into Greek along with the rest of the Old Testament around 200 B. C., so no one could have gone back and filled in prophecies about Christ. And there is a host of other prophecies quoted from Old Testament as fulfilled in death of Jesus.
Also, Jesus Himself understood that He was going to die, and how it would happen. “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Matthew 16.21; see also Matthew 17.22-23 and 20.17-19). And He knew exactly why. In taking the cup or fruit of the vine while instituting the Lord’s supper, He said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26.28).
Indeed, throughout the New Testament, emphasis is placed on the death of Jesus as something important (Romans 5.8, 1 Corinthians 15.1-3). This all shows Christ’s death was not an accident but a vital part of God’s eternal plan. Speaking of the fact that we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, Peter tells us, “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1.18-21.) “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 Cares for Me
Reason number two is that Jesus cares for me. In the gospel accounts of Jesus’s life, one of the things that stands out is that Jesus had compassion on people in need. “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (Matthew 14.14). :”Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way’” (Matthew 15.32). “So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matthew 20.34).
Of course, the main purpose of Jesus’s miracles was evidential. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20.30-31). Peter appealed to the miracles of Christ as God’s testimony to Him. ““Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22).
However, one of the important side lessons from the Biblical record of Christ’s miracles is that He has compassion for all people, especially for His followers. Yes, He certainly has compassion on our souls. “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (Matthew 9:35-38).
Yet, the fact is that He cares for all our needs. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5.7). Notice, he does not say just some of your cares, or even only your spiritual cares, but “all your cares.” In this life, we experience sickness, sometimes even chronic conditions of bad health. We watch loved ones grow old, become ill, and die, or worse linger on and on and suffer. We lose jobs and face financial difficulties. We are involved in accidents. Spouses may leave, and children may rebel, causing heartache. And on it goes. Sometimes we feel alone and forsaken. “Jesus loves the children dear, Children far away and near. They are safe and in His care, Every day and everywhere.” All Christians are God’s children. By His care for me, I know that He loves me.
Jesus Is Preparing Heaven for Me
Reason number three is that Jesus is preparing heaven for me. The Bible is very clear that God want us to go to heaven. Compare two verses in Jesus’s description of the great judgment scene. “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 25.34). “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41). God did not prepare the everlasting fire of hell for mankind but for the devil and his angels. He prepared His eternal kingdom in heaven for mankind.
The fact is that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2.4). Indeed, Peter reminds us, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3.9). Because of God’s wish for us not to perish but to be saved, He sent His Son to die for our sins, as we have already noted. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Thus, He offers salvation to all mankind. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).
In essence, Jesus came to make it possible for us to go to heaven. He said, ““Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know” (John 14.1-4). Both Father and Son have done everything within their power to enable me to go to heaven. “Jesus loves me! He will stay Close beside me all the way; If I love Him when I die, He will take me home on high.”’
So, God wants us to go to heaven. Jesus is preparing us a home in heaven. We should want to go to heaven more than anything else in the world. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3.1-2). Everything that the Bible says about heaven is designed to make it attractive. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1.3-5). Jesus loves us so much that He does not want us to be eternally lost, so He is preparing a place in heaven for everyone who is willing to meet His conditions for going there.
Yes, there can be no doubt that Jesus loves us. The question now becomes do we love Him, and if so, how do we show it? Jesus Himself said, ““If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14.15). Those who are lost in sin must keep His commandments that are necessary to be saved. “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16.15-16). And once we have been saved, we must continue to keep all His commandments to please Him and have the hope of heaven. “Jesus, take this heart of mine, Make it pure and wholly Thine. Thou hast bled and died for me; I will henceforth live for Thee.”
Of course, even as Christians, we sin, but we have His promise of forgiveness if we repent and confess to Him. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Do you want to be saved from the guilt of sin and go to heaven? If not a Christian, do you love Jesus, who died to save you and make it possible for you to have eternal life, enough to obey His commands to receive forgiveness of sins?
—taken from Faith and Facts Quarterly; April, 2014; Vol. 41, No. 2; pp. 87-93