This hymn was written in the 1860’s by a boy named William Ralph Featherston. When the poem was written when William was either 12 or 16 years old. William was a new believer and obviously had a firey love for His Savior, Jesus. William would go on to live to be 27 and there is not much else known about the man today. This poem was later put to music and has been in almost every evangelical hymnal published after 1876. What an unbelievable story of a young man’s devotion to His Savior and the impact one young person can create.
This poem is drenched in adoration for Jesus. The simple declaration of our love for Jesus is often lost in today’s age. “My Jesus, I love Thee. I know Thou art mine.” It takes confidence in Jesus’ love to speak so boldly. This confidence only comes from the realization that “I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me.” The love of God was on full display when Jesus hung on the cross for our salvation.
When we come to see the truth of Jesus’ love and sacrifice there is an overwhelming sense of love that comes over us. It cannot really be explained until you’ve experienced it. Everyone’s experience is different, but one thing is the same – we can say, “I love You, Jesus,” with convicted honesty for the very first time. We see in this song a conviction to turn away from the sins of his past and run to the loving arms of the graceful God who saved him, and us.
Let the love you feel for Jesus spill out in glorious song, poem, painting, drawing, journaling, prayer, dance, or any other countless ways to express it. No matter how you express your love for Jesus, the important part is expressing your love for Jesus. Let your life express your love for Jesus. Let your work express your love for Jesus. Let your relationships express your love for Jesus. Let your eventual death express your love for and trust in Jesus.