Mark 12: 14a
"And they (Pharisees) came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God."
The apostle Mark recorded some neat information regarding the person of Jesus. What I think is most interesting about these words is that they are from the mouths of Pharisees. Now, I don't know whether they were said in pretense or sincerity, but at the end of the day, they pin-point the character of this man, Jesus, dead on!
1. Do not care about anyone's opinion
2. Not swayed by appearances
How practical are these descriptions. I think about both of these things, other people's opinions and appearances, way too often. How subtly they can creep into my mind and rob me of peace and joy during the day. They are symptomatic of a chronic disbelief in where my identity lies. Throughout the book of Mark, Jesus knows his identity as the Christ, the Son of God, the Messiah, and everyone else refuses to see it and believe. As each chapter progresses, it seems bits and pieces of his identity are revealed to us, when in chapter 8, Peter declares He is Christ, and chapter 15, when the centurion declared He is the Son of God. Amidst all the animosity and hostility, Jesus perfectly remains true to his identity in every conversation and every teaching. Even the Pharisees saw it!
The two things listed above finely depict the culture we live in today: one that upholds truth as relative and appearance as something to be sought after. It actually might not be too different from the Pharisaic culture Jesus was surrounded by each day. Anyway, the story of the gospel is that we are handed, guaranteed, and already have been given the identity of Christ as our absolute truth and our real appearance, through faith in Jesus's life, death and resurrection, which we read about in Mark. Jesus walked through life for us already, so that when we do encounter similar situations that threaten our identity, we may have hope that the hostility we are sure to receive has already been defeated on the cross!