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RE:QUEST

A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Jesus: The Greatest Commandment

What does it mean for Christians to love God and to love others?

What is the greatest commandment in the Law?

One day a very important person asked Jesus a question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment, And the second is, love your neighbour as yourself."

What does it mean to love God and to love others?

Christians believe that in order to love God and to love others a person must become more like Jesus. This is because Christians believe that Jesus is God in human form (the incarnation) and that one reason he came to earth was to show people how they should live.

Many Christians believe that the way Jesus lived can be summed up in five statements: these are known as The Five Marks of Mission. In following these five marks Christians believe that they will be loving God and loving others, just as Jesus commanded them to do.

What are the Five Marks of Mission and what do they mean?

1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

After Jesus was raised from the dead, he appeared to his disciples. He told them to go into all the world and to preach the good news of the Kingdom. Christians believe that this is still something that they should do today, this is known as evangelism. The Bible teaches that the good news is that God created the world and that he loves it so much that he sent Jesus to show all people what that love is like. And what is more, one day through that love, all things will be made perfect once again, just as it was in the beginning when God first created the world.

          Watch a film here about what it means to be an evangelist. 

2. To teach, baptise and encourage new believers

For Christians, baptism is a sign of belonging to God's Kingdom. When a person is baptised they are saying sorry for everything they have done wrong and showing that they want to live a new life by following the example of Jesus. Part of being a Christian also includes helping and encouraging others in this new life.

          Click here to find out more about baptism.

3. To respond to the needs of people by loving service

Sadly, there are a lot of people in need in the world. This might be because they do not have enough food, or money to live on. It might be because they are ill or they are lonely. There are many reasons why a person may be in need and it can happen to anyone. One of the main ways Christians believe they can show love is by helping others in need.

The story of the Good Samaritan is often used as a good example of this.

4. To work against injustice in our society, to challenge violence of every kind and to work for peace and reconciliation

Every day when you watch or hear the news there are reports of trouble and war all around the world. Christians believe this is not what God wants and in fact, Jesus taught, 'Blessed are the peacemakers.'

And he goes on to say that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. There are many Christians around the world who work directly to help end violence and injustice and help to bring peace and reconciliation.

One such organisation is Tearfund.

5. To strive to look after all creation.

The Bible teaches that God created the world and everything in it. It also teaches that one job God gave to humans was to look after his creation. Many Christians believe that this is a really important job that we still need to do.

By clicking here you can watch two films of Christians talking about why they think it is important to look after the world.

  The Church of England's Five Marks of Mission To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom To teach, baptise and nurture new believers To respond to human need by loving service To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth