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Mark 6:15

ESV But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”
NIV Others said, 'He is Elijah.' And still others claimed, 'He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.'
NASB But others were saying, 'He is Elijah.' And others were saying, 'He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.'
CSB But others said, "He's Elijah." Still others said, "He's a prophet, like one of the prophets from long ago."
NLT Others said, 'He’s the prophet Elijah.' Still others said, 'He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.'
KJV Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.

What does Mark 6:15 mean?

When those close to Herod Antipas hear Jesus preaching the gospel of repentance, they immediately note the similarity to the gospel of John the Baptist. But John is dead, killed by Antipas via manipulation by his wife, Herodias. So the court is filled with speculation about who Jesus really is.

The idea that Jesus could be Elijah returned comes from Malachi 4:5. There, God says, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes." Elijah did not die but was taken to heaven by a chariot of fire, so the expectation he would return is reasonable (2 Kings 2:11). What the people don't understand is that "Elijah" has already come, symbolically, in the person of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:13–14). John was not literally Elijah returned from heaven nor Elijah reincarnated. John came in the "spirit and power of Elijah…to make ready for the Lord a people prepared" (Luke 1:17).

If Jesus isn't Elijah, the people posit, He might be a prophet like those who came to Israel before the four hundred years of silence. "Prophet" is from the Greek root word profetes and refers to someone who has hidden knowledge and can interpret oracles. In the Old Testament, a prophet was inspired by the Holy Spirit to spread God's truth. Some thought Jesus was a new prophet, while others thought he was Jeremiah returned (Matthew 16:14).

Islam, among other faith, still teaches that Jesus was "only" a prophet. C.S. Lewis pointed out the foolishness of this perspective, in what is often referred to as his "trilemma." Any person who claims to be God must either be a liar, a lunatic, or actually the Lord God. No other prophet preached God's message, performed miracles empowered by God, and claimed to be God.
What is the Gospel?
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