Mark 6:12
And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
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(12) And preached that men should repent.—The work of the Apostles appears from this to have been a continuation of that of the Baptist. They announced the nearness of the kingdom of God, and repentance as the one adequate preparation for it, and baptised as the outward token of that repentance and the new life in which it was to issue (John 3:5; John 4:2), but they did not as yet proclaim their Master as being Himself the Christ, and therefore the Head of that kingdom.

Mark 6:12-13. They went, and preached that men should repent — They went away and published everywhere the glad tidings of the approach of the Messiah’s kingdom, and exhorted men on that consideration to turn to God in true repentance, forsaking all their sins in temper, word, and work, and in all respects bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance. They cast out many devils, &c. — And did many other miracles. And anointed with oil many that were sick — Which St. James gives as a general direction, (chap. Mark 5:11; Mark 5:15,) adding those peremptory words, And the Lord shall heal him. He shall be restored to health: not by the natural efficacy of the oil, but by the supernatural blessing of God. And it seems, this was the great standing means of healing desperate diseases in the Christian Church, long before extreme unction was used or heard of, which bears scarcely any resemblance to it; the former being used only as a means of health; the latter, only when life is despaired of. It is not said how long they were out on this their first expedition; but it is probable they spent a considerable time in it, for Luke says, Luke 9:6, they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.

6:7-13 Though the apostles were conscious to themselves of great weakness, and expected no wordly advantage, yet, in obedience to their Master, and in dependence upon his strength, they went out. They did not amuse people with curious matters, but told them they must repent of their sins, and turn to God. The servants of Christ may hope to turn many from darkness unto God, and to heal souls by the power of the Holy Ghost.Preached that men should repent - See the nature of repentance explained in notes at Matthew 3:2. They were now called upon to repent and reform their lives because sin was evil, because the Messiah had come to preach forgiveness to the penitent, and because at "his" presence it was fit that the nation should turn from its sins and prepare to receive him. Mr 6:7-13. Mission of the Twelve Apostles. ( = Mt 10:1, 5-15; Lu 9:1-6).

See on [1440]Mt 10:1; [1441]Mt 10:5-15.

Ver. 12,13. They executed both the trusts which Christ had reposed in them, preaching the gospel, and by miraculous operations confirming the doctrine which they brought to be from heaven. John Baptist, and Christ, and the twelve all preached the same doctrine,

Repent; that is, turn from your former sinful courses, which if men do not, Christ’s coming will profit them nothing.

And anointed with oil many that were sick. James directed this anointing with oil also in the name of the Lord. It is disputed amongst learned men whether this anointing with oil was the using of oil as a medicine, having a natural virtue, (for it is certain in that country there were oils that were of great natural force for healing), or only as sacramental and symbolical, signifying what they did was from that unction of the Spirit of Christ which they had received, not by their own power or virtue, and representing by anointing with oil, that is an excellent lenitive, the refreshing and recovery of the diseased. But it is not probable, considering that our Lord sent the disciples to confirm the doctrine of the gospel which they preached, that he should direct them in these operations to use means of a natural force and efficacy, which had at least much abated of the miracle; besides, James bids them anoint the sick with oil in the name of the Lord. So as they doubtless used oil as symbolical, testifying that what they did was not by their own power and virtue. Nor did the apostles always use this rite in healing. Peter and John used it not in their healing the lame man, Acts 3:6: In the name of Jesus Christ (say they) rise up and walk. He declareth the use of it, Acts 3:16, only to show, that Christ’s name through faith in his name was that which made the lame man whole. So that it being both a free rite, which they sometimes used and sometimes not, and a rite annexed to miraculous operations, to declare the effect was from Christ, not from their power, in a miraculous and extraordinary, not in a natural and ordinary, way of operation, the necessity of the use of it still is very impertinently urged by some, and as impertinently quoted by others, to prove the lawfulness of ritual impositions.

And they went out,.... From that part of the country where they then were, some one way, and some another, two by two, with these instructions, and according to these directions; in order to preach the word, and work miracles, in the several parts where they were sent:

and preached that men should repent; both of the evil practices which they were guilty of, and of the bad principles they had imbibed, and change both their sentiments and their conduct: this, they exhorted them to, as John the Baptist, and Christ, had done before, who set out in their ministry the same way; and these, as they did also, preached the Gospel, and the things appertaining to the kingdom of God, and Gospel dispensation, and called upon men to believe them. For faith and repentance went together in Christ's ministry, Mark 1:15, and so they did in the ministry of John, the Baptist, Acts 19:4, and in the ministry of the apostles, Acts 20:21. When they preached that men should repent, it does not from hence follow, that they have a power to repent of themselves: for such is the condition of men by nature, that they neither see their need of repentance, and their hearts are so hard and obdurate, that they cannot work themselves up to it, or work it in them, and exercise it; this requires the powerful and efficacious grace of God to produce it, and it is a gift of his grace; and if he gives the means, and not the grace of repentance itself, it will never appear: but the apostles preaching that men should repent, shows that they were in such a state as to need it; and how necessary it was for them to have it, seeing without it they must all perish: and such a ministration is proper, to awaken the minds of men to a sense of the need of it, and to direct them to Christ the Saviour, who is exalted to give it, as well as the remission of sins.

And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Mark 6:11
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