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Mark 6:12

ESV So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.
NIV They went out and preached that people should repent.
NASB And they went out and preached that people are to repent.
CSB So they went out and preached that people should repent.
NLT So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.
KJV And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

What does Mark 6:12 mean?

Although Jesus' preparation instructions do not mention preaching, it is inferred in Mark 6:11. Preaching the gospel is one of the primary reasons Jesus chose the Twelve in the first place (Mark 3:14). Matthew records that Jesus tells the Twelve, "proclaim as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Matthew 10:7).

The gospel of Jesus is that we are separated from God because of our sin (Romans 3:23–26) but Jesus died to cover our sins so that we can spend eternity with Him (John 3:16–18). Before the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus and the Twelve only preached the first part which is the gospel of John the Baptist: repent (Mark 1:4).

"Repent" is from the Greek root word metnoeo and means to change one's mind. In the New Testament context, that means conforming to God's point of view regarding sin, lifestyle, and the place God has in one's life. It does not mean we will be perfect and never sin again. It does not mean to "believe" in Jesus through simple agreement—without acknowledging that our sin is wrong or resolving to be rid of it. It means to humbly come before God, understand that our sin makes us unworthy of His blessings, and genuinely hate the sin that separates us from Him.

This gospel—John's gospel—spreads throughout the area before the crucifixion. When Paul reaches Ephesus, he discovers disciples who have not yet heard of Jesus and His sacrifice and have not received the Holy Spirit. Paul tells them, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus" (Acts 19:4). Learning about Jesus is the final piece of the puzzle, and they receive the Holy Spirit.

Shortly, Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, will hear of Jesus and His disciples, preaching the gospel of repentance. Antipas has killed John, and the similarity of the Twelve's message to John's probably adds to his confusion about who Jesus is.
What is the Gospel?
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