Jesus Loves You, Do You Know?
Submitted by Jennifer Power
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.
I am wondering how many of us actually believe Jesus loves us. I am sure many of us “know” Jesus loves us, but how many of us actually know He loves us. Loves me. Loves you. We have heard the Scriptures:
- Romans 5:8: But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- 1 John 4:19: We love because he first loved us.
- John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
- 1 John 4:16: So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
If asked if Jesus loves us, we would most of us probably say “yes.”
But do we actually believe it? Do we have any proof of this truth outside of 2000-year-old words from a book read in its entirety by very few of us?
Please understand, I am not downplaying the Bible. I truly believe it is the divinely inspired Word of God – that it is reliable, trustworthy, and true, and vital to the life of any who claim to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I also believe it is the inspired Word of God made manifest in the person and life of Jesus Christ who we now encounter through the living Holy Spirit.
Praise God for the Bible, but if we expect to fully embrace the love of Jesus Christ for us, we must encounter its truths beyond the pages of the Scriptures. The Scriptures, after all, point us somewhere – or rather, to Someone – and are not meant to be the sole focal point of our life of faith. The Scriptures point us to Jesus, not the other way around.
Dallas Willard tells of a stained glass window he once saw of Jesus holding out the Bible in His hand. Willard says that though it would make for an awkward looking window, it would make more sense to have a picture of the Bible holding out Jesus. That imagery has stuck with me these past few years.
The Holy Scriptures paint us a picture of Jesus who is the perfect representation of God. All our encounters with God outside the scripture must be measured against what has been revealed to us in scripture. God’s creation reveals aspects of who He is, but what we can learn from creation is incomplete without the scriptures. The Holy Spirit moves in the life of Jesus’ followers, but all we think we learn from the Spirit must measure up to what we learn in scripture – for God is consistent and will not manifest Himself in ways which are not.
Certainly, the Scriptures are invaluable for Christians; however, we will find a disconnect in our spirits if we have only ever read about Jesus and His love for us and have never encountered this love in any other way.
From childhood, I have assented to the truth in the scriptures which claim God’s love for me. I love to learn, and I truly love to grow in my study and learning of the Bible, but it has not been better knowledge of the Scriptures (at least not alone) which has convinced me of Jesus’ deep and personal love for me. In John 15, Jesus speaks of His desire for friendship with His followers. He does not simply desire a large group of followers who know a lot of facts about Him and His Father, but He desires to make us His friends. In John 10, Jesus says His followers hear His voice and respond.
Jesus wants us to know Him – not simply to know about Him, but to truly know Him. Not only does He want us to know Him, but He desires to show us His specific love for each of us. He desires to woo us and win us with gentleness, grace, mercy, and love. He actually expects us to trust Him and to not worry (Matthew 6:25-34), and to do this not simply by setting our resolves firm, but because we have actually experienced His love for us in deep and profound ways which lead us to entrust our very lives to Him, fully and completely, knowing He is the only one worthy of our complete trust.
We trust Him because we know that He loves us. We know it because He has proven it – first on the cross and next in our actual daily lives. For those who long for His love, He will pour it out freely (Jeremiah 29:13). Even when His work in our lives does not look and feel like love, over time we become more and more convinced that He works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).
He shows us His love in His ways and in His time, but I have learned He will not ignore the heartfelt cry of His child to know His love. So I ask again, do you know He loves you?
To know something is to live it.
As our awareness of the depth of His love for us grows, our ability to live out lives of faith and trust in His ways grows as well. We actually become able to worry less because of how deeply rooted our knowledge of His love for us has become. We can actually know our lives are in good hands – that even in the midst of nightmares, He is still good and still loves us, and that we can find real hope in Him. We become able to set aside our desires and our plans for His desires for us and His plans for us – knowing His to be infinitely better than ours, and to actually be what our very hearts truly desire. For He has designed us to live and move in Him.
As a parent of young children, I often sing the old song “Jesus Loves Me” to my children. While I sing this song and believe it is true, my deep prayer for my children is for them to encounter the living God and to know Jesus loves them, not simply because pages on a book state it to be so, but because these pages lead them to the heart of the very person who loves them so desperately He would go to Hell and back to have them as His own.
I pray this not only for my husband and my children, but for each of you and your children as well. Might the Jesus who loves you more than anyone else ever will or ever could woo you and win you as His dear friends who know what is the “breadth and length and height and depth” of His great love for you (Ephesians 3:17-19).