Reflections: Tuesday of Holy Week

Today’s Reading: Mark 14:1-15:47

Daily Lectionary:  Exodus 9:29-10:20; Hebrews 3:1-19

There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?” (Mark 14:4)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever wasted something? Honestly, you’ve probably wasted time, and maybe you’ve been told you were wasting energy. Certainly, no one wants to waste money or food or anything else physical. Precious things are precious, and shouldn’t be wasted. That’s what the people thought had happened at the dinner Jesus attended. That ointment that could only be used once was being wasted on Jesus. When the objection was raised that the money could have been used for the poor, Jesus pointed out that the poor would always be in the world, but Jesus Himself wouldn’t always be here. Putting this expensive, precious ointment on Jesus seemed to be a waste. But then Jesus said that the ointment was preparing Him for His death. 

Jesus’ death seemed wasteful, too. As He was crucified and was dying on the Cross, it would have been easy to think “What a waste of a life!” There, as Jesus’ blood was shed from the Cross it could certainly seem that His life, like that precious ointment, was being wasted. But Jesus’ death wasn’t wasted. Instead, it was the precious blood of Jesus that cleansed you from your sin and calls you to believe in His gracious Name. Jesus didn’t waste His life on you. Instead, He spent His life for you. It’s like the explanation of the Second Article of the Apostles Creed in Luther’s Small Catechism: “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.” You, a poor and condemned person, were saved by the holy, precious blood of Jesus and His innocent suffering and death. Now you belong to Jesus because of His goodness. Jesus’ life was not wasted on you, but He is the price of your redemption and your forgiveness. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us by Your grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s passion that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Tuesday of Holy Week)

-Rev. Peter Ill is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, IL.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.