What does Mark 4:41 mean?
ESV: And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
NIV: They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'
NASB: They became very much afraid and said to one another, 'Who, then, is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'
CSB: And they were terrified and asked one another, "Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him! "
NLT: The disciples were absolutely terrified. 'Who is this man?' they asked each other. 'Even the wind and waves obey him!'
KJV: And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
NKJV: And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Verse Commentary:
The Christian faith can be boiled down to the questions of "Who do you think Jesus is?" and "How will you react to who Jesus is?" The disciples met Jesus as a carpenter's son from Nazareth. Andrew had heard from John the Baptist that Jesus is the Messiah (John 1:35–40) and had quickly told his brother Peter (John 1:41–42). When Jesus cast out demons and healed people, the twelve followed Him. When the Pharisees challenged Jesus (Mark 2:6–7, 18, 24)—even to the point of claiming His power was from Satan (Mark 3:22)—they stayed with Him.

But to this point, crowds, meddling Pharisees, and unemployment (Mark 1:16–20) are all the twelve have had to face. With the storm, they begin to understand that following Jesus may be dangerous business—that He may be dangerous.

From the time the Jews returned from exile in Babylon until day the twelve stepped on the boat, the Jewish people have been waiting for the Messiah. The prophecies in the Old Testament promise that God will send a king from the line of David who will free His people from foreign rule and bring peace and prosperity to the land. In anticipation, leaders and families periodically revolted against whichever empire had control; some rebels had even come from Galilee.

The twelve expect that Jesus is the Messiah who will lead a political rebellion that will actually be successful on a grand scale. They think it's reasonable that such a man will have miraculous powers like healing and authority over demons. They are perhaps intrigued that He clashes with the religious rulers who remain pious in an attempt to call the Messiah to them.

But they never expected that the Messiah is God Himself. It had never crossed their minds that their friendly teacher has the authority over nature that only God has. It will take years more before they really comprehend.
Verse Context:
Mark 4:35–41 is part of a passage expounding on Jesus' authority. He has demonstrated power over sickness (Mark 3:7–10), demons (Mark 1:21–26), and the Sabbath (Mark 2:23–28). Now He controls the wind and the sea. Next, He will conquer a legion of demons (Mark 5:1–13), social conventions (Mark 5:25–34), and death (Mark 5:21–24, 35–43). In this miracle, Jesus displays His authority over nature, specifically conditions that His disciples know and rightfully fear. The story of the storm is also recorded in Matthew 8:23–27 and Luke 8:22–25.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus speaks in parables to the assembled crowd, giving them an opportunity to decide how much spiritual truth they want to absorb. The disciples, wanting to learn more, ask Jesus to explain the meaning of the parables He has taught. As Jesus explains these ideas, He demonstrates that a person's spiritual knowledge is based on their willingness to pursue truth. After describing Jesus' teaching in some detail, the Gospel of Mark describes how Jesus calms a storm on the Sea of Galilee.
Chapter Context:
Mark 3 explores the different ways people react to Jesus' teaching and miracles. They either follow Him, use Him, hide Him, or destroy Him. In Mark 4, Jesus explains why people react the way they do. He uses parables to explain who is serious about learning from Him. The softer a person's heart is, the more truth God will reveal. Soon, the twelve will also spread Jesus' message, although they will not be responsible for the spiritual growth of those who believe. The following chapter returns to depicting Jesus' miracles, including two of His most famous.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
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