"Mommy and Daddy and your siblings love you so much. But guess who loves you m-o-o-o-ost of all?" This is a question we've asked our children since they were tiny, prompted by the excellent children's book by Noel Piper, "Most of All Jesus Loves You" (illustrated by the talented Debby Anderson). Our response to Christ's love is to love him with our everything. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
This is what Jonathan Edwards preached to children in his congregation. In a sermon preached to children, Edwards gives many reasons "why children ought to love Jesus Christ above things in the world."* A few of his reasons are excerpted below:
- He is more lovely in himself. He is one that is greater and higher than all the kings of the earth, has more honor and majesty than they, and yet he is innately good and full of mercy and love. There is no love so great and so wonderful as that which is in the heart of Christ.
- He is one that delights in mercy. He is ready to pity those that are in suffering and sorrowful circumstances as one that delights in the happiness of his creatures. The love and grace that Christ has manifested does as much exceed all that which is in this world as the sun is brighter than a candle. Parents are often full of kindness towards their children, but that is no kindness like Jesus Christ’s.
- And he is an infinitely holy One. He is God’s holy child, so holy and pure that the heavens are not pure in his sight, so that he is fairer than the sons of men, as the Psalmist says. He is ‘the chiefest among ten thousand,’ and ‘altogether lovely.'
- He is so lovely and excellent, that the angels in heaven do greatly love him. Their hearts overflow with love to him, and they are continually, day and night without ceasing, praising him and giving him glory.
- Yea, he is so lovely a person, that God the Father infinitely delights in him. He is his beloved Son, the brightness of his glory, whose beauty God continually sees with infinite delight, without ever being weary of beholding it. ‘I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before Him’ (Proverbs 8:30). And if the angels and God himself love him so much above all, surely children ought to love him above all things in this world.
- Everything that is lovely in God is in him, and everything that is or can be lovely in any man is in him: for he is man as well as God, and he is the holiest, meekest, most humble, and in every way the most excellent man that ever was. He is the delight of heaven.
- There is nothing in heaven, that glorious world, that is brighter and more amiable and lovely than Christ. And this darling of heaven, by becoming man, became as a plant or flower springing out of the earth. And he is the most lovely flower that ever was seen in this world.
- There is more good to be enjoyed in him than in everything or all things in this world. He is not only an amiable, but an all-sufficient good. There is enough in him to answer all our wants and satisfy all our desires.”
*Excerpted from a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, "Children Ought to Love the Lord Jesus Christ Above All," The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 22:174ff