In your question, you recognize the inconsistency of the life and teachings of Jesus with the idea that Jesus did not want people to repent and be forgiven.
Indeed, the Bible is very clear that salvation is offered to all the world. Just a few references:
- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV
- O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Luke 13:34 ESV
- And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, Revelation 7:9 ESV
- And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. John 12:32 ESV
So, anyone who believes receives eternal life. God loved the whole world--not just a few people. Jesus desired to gather in all of Israel, but the problem was the will of the people that would not follow God. Ultimately, people from every tribe, language, people and nation will be among those who do believe and do receive eternal life.
General revelation is given to all people, indeed, but why give general revelation or special revelation (in the Scriptures) to anyone if God doesn't want them to repent?
So, to conclude from the Mark 4:11-12 passage that Jesus does not want people to repent is inconsistent with the rest of Scripture. Consequently, that can be eliminated as a possible interpretation at the very beginning.
One possible explanation for this, however, is that in speaking in parables, Jesus gives sufficient light/revelation for anyone to come to Him, yet does not give too much light that a person may not refuse to come to Him. To those who harden their hearts, God allows them to do that without overwhelming them to the point of destroying their will.
As C. S. Lewis poignantly stated in The Screwtape Letters
“The Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the
very nature of his scheme forbids him to use. Merely to override a
human will… would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only
woo” (C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters).
One final verse is important to understand:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness,
but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but
that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV
So, Jesus does want all people to repent and believe and receive eternal life, and, indeed, He gives light to everyone (John 1:9)--sufficient light to believe, yet not much light to deprive us of our own wills.
A comment suggested that the "whole world" idea is strictly New Testament, while the Old Testament is all about preference for one people (the Jews). However, the whole world idea is clearly presented in the Old Testament as well:
- I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 12:3 ESV
- I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, Genesis 26:4 ESV
- The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” Exodus 7:5
- he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 ESV
The covenant with Israel actually only spans from Abraham to Christ (~2,000 B.C. to 33 A.D.). However, that covenant was expressly for the purpose of being a blessing (and bringing salvation) to the whole world. At Babel, the people were dispersed all over the world. God chose Abraham to proclaim God to the nations from the very outset. In the lineage of Jesus Himself, we find Rahab from Jericho, Ruth from Moab, and Urriah the Hittite.
Space does not permit a full discussion here, but suffice it to say that the "ends of the earth" reach of God's salvation in the New Testament is merely a continuation of that which began with the command to Adam to "fill the earth".