665

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Full Text

1 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.

2 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one,
stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.

3 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me; your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till traveling days are done.

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Each of the three stanzas has two parts: the first half quotes Jesus' words, and the second half testifies to the personal experience of responding to Christ. The entire text invites us to accept what Jesus offers: rest from our burdens (st. 1), living water to quench our thirst (st. 2), and light for life's journey (st. 3).

 

Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

When we receive God’s pardon, we find ourselves at peace with him and at rest again. When the benefits of Christ are made ours, “They are more than enough to absolve us of our sins” and we need no longer look “for anything apart from him” (Belgic Confession, Article 22). We have “freedom from sin’s dominion” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 25) and we understand that we are “set free from all [our] sins and misery…” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 2). We are “righteous before God and heir to everlasting life” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 23, Question and Answer 59).

665

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Additional Prayers

A Prayer for Light
O Lord, Jesus Christ, light of the world, shine on us. We live in a twilight zone where people make up the truth as they go along. Shine on us. So many of our own lights have gone out, and so many are just cold glitter. Shine on us. O Lord, Jesus Christ, light of the world, shine on us all the way home. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
665

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Tune Information

Name
RESTING PLACE
Meter
8.6.8.6 D

Recordings

665

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Hymn Story/Background

While pastor of a Presbyterian church in Kelso, Scotland, Horatius Bonar wrote this text, which he intended to be a children's hymn. Entitled “The Voice from Galilee,” the text was published in Bonar's Hymns Original and Selected (1846) with a reference to John 1: 16 ("From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another"). The truth of the biblical imagery and the spiritual depth of the personal responses to Christ captured in this text have made this a hymn much loved by children and adults. It is often considered to be among the finest of Bonar's many hymn texts.
 
Each of the three stanzas has two parts: the first half quotes Jesus' words, and the second half testifies to the personal experience of responding to Christ. The entire text invites us to accept what Jesus offers: rest from our burdens (st. 1), living water to quench our thirst (st. 2), and light for life's journey (st. 3).
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Horatius Bonar (b. 1808; d. 1889) was educated at the University of Edinburgh. At the age of thirty he became a preacher in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, a church that underwent a schism ­"the Disruption," in 1843. A major question in the controversy was whether a minister could be forced on a congregation by an aristocratic sponsor. Many church leaders and the government agreed that he could, but one-third of the ministers, including Bonar, disagreed, and in 1843 this group formed the Free Church of Scotland. Bonar was a prolific, popular author of tracts, sermons, and hymns (even though his congregation sang exclusively psalms during much of his life). One of Bonar's great interests was biblical prophecy and the return of Christ, an interest reflected in some of his hymns. He published several hundred hymns in collections such as The Bible Hymn Book (1845), Hymns of Faith and Hope (1857,1861), and Hymns of the Nativity (1879). Many were written casually, illustrating very little interest in poetic finesse, but a few have had staying power and are still found in many modern hymnals.
— Bert Polman
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