Did Jesus ever say “I love you”?

Question:

Please let me know if there is any scripture(s) in the Bible that Jesus told anyone I love you. I am being challenged by a friend that Jesus never told anyone while he was on earth directly that he loved them.

Answer:

I’ll start out by quoting the last verse in the gospel of John, which confirms that only a small portion of Jesus’ life was written down.  Remember that the Bible only gives a condensed version of events.  We therefore don’t know every word that He said to everyone while here on earth.

John 21: 25   And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

And then, before we go to verses that talk about Jesus loving people, let’s look at what Jesus had to say about love and how to measure it.

John 15: 13   Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
John 10: 17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

John 3: 16   For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

We see therefore, that even if Jesus had not said a word about love, His actions when He died on the cross for your sins and mine, said it all!  However, there are some verses which you may find interesting.  Jesus may not have said to many people that He loved them, but they knew very well that He did, by His actions.  Here are some examples from the gospels.

Mark 10: 21   Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

John 11: 3   Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”

John 11: 5   Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

John 13: 1   Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

John 13: 23   Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

John 13: 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 14: 21   He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

John 15: 9    “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

John 15: 12   This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Finally, as the second Person of the Godhead, Jesus is not just loving, He is love.

1 John 4: 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

John 15: 9

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

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