“Jesus Is Mine”

"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus…" (Phil. 3.8)

     INTRO.: A song which emphasizes the excellence that the knowledge of Jesus Christ should have in our lives is "Jesus Is Mine" (#131 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #658 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Catherine Jane (or Jane Catherine) Lundie Bonar, who was born at Kelso Manse in Kelso, Scotland, on the Tweed River not far from Melrose, in Dec. of 1821, the daughter of Robert Lundie, a minister. She became the wife of Horatius Bonar (1808-1889). Her husband was regarded as the greatest of evangelical Scottish preachers and hymn-writers. Mrs. Bonar, too, was a very gifted writer. They were married in 1843 and were together for over forty years.

     During that time, Catherine Jane stood with her husband, helping him in his work, supporting him in the battles that he fought, and generally sharing life’s sorrows and joys together with him, including the deaths of five of their children. This hymn, with its devotional thoughts, was produced in 1843 or 1844 and published in her husband’s Songs of the Wilderness the following year under the title "All in All" with the original first line, "Pass away, earthly joy." Her older sister, Mary, who is credited with 23 hymns herself, was also married to a Scottish Presbyterian preacher, William Wallace Duncan of Cleith.

     The tune (Lundie) was composed by Theodore Edson Perkins (1831-1912).  It was provided for this text in 1858. Perkins, a native of Poughkeepsie, NY, and son of a Baptist preacher, became a music teacher, living in various places such as Hamilton, Port Jervis, Geneseo, and Brooklyn, NY, and Philadelphia, PA. Mrs. Bonar died at Edinburgh, Scotland, on Dec. 3, 1884, some five years before the death of her husband. However, her sole surviving hymn still lives on to express the sentiments of all true followers of Jesus Christ. Each of us was created not just for this brief earthly life but for eternity.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; and the 1975 Supplement to the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 originally edited by E. L. Jorgenson. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     This song speaks of an intimate fellowship with our Lord both here and in eternity.

I. Stanza 1 suggests that Jesus should be more important to us than any earthly joy
"Fade, fade, each earthly joy, Jesus is mine! Break every tender tie, Jesus is mine!
Dark is the wilderness, Earth has no resting place, Jesus alone can bless, Jesus is mine!"
 A. The things of this earth are perishable: Mt. 6.19-20
 B. Therefore, we need to look at the things which are not seen, rather than the things which are seen: 2 Cor. 4.16-18
 C. Because this earth is a wilderness that has no resting place, we should set our affections on things above: Col. 3.1-3

II. Stanza 2 indicates that Jesus should be more important to us than anything that would tempt us away from Him
"Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine! Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine!
Perishing things of clay, Born but for one brief day, Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine!"
 A. Jesus Himself was tempted, but resisted the devil so as to be without sin as our great example: Mt. 4.1-10, Heb. 4.14-16, 1 Pet. 2.20-21
 B. Thus, by following His wonderful example, we too can overcome temptation and resist the devil: 1 Cor. 10.13, Jas. 4.7, 1 Pet. 5.8-9
 C. We must never allow ourselves to be drawn away from Christ by yielding to the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life presented by the perishing things of clay: Jas. 1.12-16, 1 Jn. 2.15-17

III. Stanza 3 suggests that Jesus should be more important to us than whatever is found in the darkness of night
"Farewell, ye dreams of night, Jesus is mine! Lost in this dawning bright, Jesus is mine!
All that my soul has tried Left but a dismal void; Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine!"
 A. The sinful things of this world are characterized as the darkness of night, and the people of this world prefer them: Jn. 3.19-21
 B. However, it is different, or should be, for those upon whose souls Christ has dawned: 2 Pet. 1.19
 C. Thus, such individuals find that the world leaves a dismal void so they strive to walk in the light rather than in darkness: 1 Jn. 1.5-7

IV. Stanza 4 says that Jesus should be more important to us than everything related to mortality
"Farewell, mortality, Jesus is mine! Welcome, eternity, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, oh, loved and blest, Welcome, sweet scenes of rest, Welcome, my Savior’s breast, Jesus is mine!"
 A. Mortality refers to that which is subject to death, the things of this physical life, and we must remember that what is mortal cannot inherit the kingdom of God: 1 Cor. 15.50-54
 B. However, those who know Jesus Christ look forward to something better than and beyond this "vale of tears": 1 Pet. 1.3-5
 C. It will be then that we shall be welcomed to our Savior’s beast to dwell with Him evermore: Matt. 25.21, 34

     CONCL.: While this song has been in practically every book published by our brethren, my experience at least has been that it is not very well known or much used, even though I have tried to introduce it in places where I have been located. But it is a beautiful hymn that deserves more exposure than it has received because the intimate fellowship with Jesus in this life of which it speaks needs to be developed here so that we can enjoy it more fully in heaven. I need to be reminded that the only way which I can live this life in a manner pleasing to God and go to heaven is to be able to say with truth and trust that "Jesus Is Mine."


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