I sat in the auditorium, poised with my pen in hand, ready to scribble as many notes as possible. With anticipation I had found a seat to hear well-known theologian, author and pastor John Stott speak. I wondered about what deep truth he would share that I had never considered. Mr. Stott began his insightful message with these words, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Upon hearing that, my first thought was, “Okay, funny, get on with it. I know that. I covered that truth a long time ago. C’mon give me something.” But that was to be his theme for the evening. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” At first my pen went down and my heart sank. John Stott, well-known theologian, author of many books, is giving me a children’s song as his main point for the evening?
I had come to wrestle with something deep that night. I was disappointed. Seriously, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”? What kind of a theme was that?
But then I started to listen more. Jesus does love me. This I do know. It is the Bible that tells me this is so. I was moved out of my arrogance. I needed brought back to my spot of simple faith in Jesus.
How often do you and I drift from simple faith? We attempt to complicate it and somehow suppress the simplicity of faith. Jesus speaks of having faith like a child, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all” (Luke 18:17). We find the apostle Paul writing in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” and in Ephesians 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
Where does faith begin? Faith begins with the fact of the song, “Jesus loves me”. God loves me. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). How many times do we forget that we are loved?
Some of us forget we are loved by God by ignoring Him. We are in pursuit of other things. It may be the weekend football game, the next purchase, chasing around to kids’ activities or a host of other things. We forget we are loved by God and that He wants a relationship with us. Even if we know and trust Jesus, we sometimes ignore Him. It is like being married, but going off and living in another state and never calling home; ignoring the One who loves you.
Others of us forget we are loved by God by trying to work so hard for Him. We forget to just be loved by Him and instead run ourselves into the ground with community projects and even church work. You are loved by God, not because of the output you produce for Him, but simply because you are you, a child of His. Jesus loves you!
How do I know that Jesus loves me? The song continues, “For the Bible tells me so”. The Bible is our source to turn to in matters related to the Christian faith. We can gain a rough, general sense of who God is by looking at nature. But this general revelation is insufficient. We need the Bible, the special revelation of God to instruct us for salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). The Bible is our place to go to find out about Jesus, who came to Earth, died and rose from the grave offering us salvation in Him.
While the message of faith in Jesus is simple, it is far from simplistic. We find in Ephesians 3:18b-19, “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.” How can we possibly know a love that surpasses knowledge? We can’t. But instead we fall headlong into this never-ending mystery of the love of Jesus Christ. We simply put our faith in Jesus.
John Stott was right that day, more than a decade ago. In fact, his words were the deepest of all words, wrapped in the simplest of words, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”