Palm Sunday! I can't be with my wonderful church family today because I'm healing from surgery. It's probably the first Palm Sunday in 20+ years that I haven't been behind a piano leading worship. It's hurting my heart, but I know it must be this way.
Anyway, I'm celebrating with them at home. I even stole a graphic I created for their powerpoint to use here.
I love my church, and I love the God of that church! Today Jesus entered Jerusalem knowing full well what was coming, yet He chose to go anyway. And as he entered the city, the people cried out "Hosanna!"
But what does the word Hosanna mean?
The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament was originally written in Greek. I’ll skip a bunch of information about translation and simply say it this way: The word we use for Hosanna (in English) is taken from a Greek translation of a Hebrew phrase, “hoshiya na.” This phrase is only found in one location in the Old Testament--Psalm 118:25. In that phrase it is the cry for help of “Save, please!”
Years passed by, and for reasons that I won’t discuss in this post, the phrase “hoshiya na” stopped being an impassioned cry for help and transformed into an impassioned shout of hope and exultation for the Jews. What used to mean “Save, please!” gradually turned into “Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!”
John Piper said, “The word moved from pleas to praise; from cry to confidence.” I would add that it went from a cry for help to a cry of happiness."
In John 12:12, Scripture tells us, “So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
I personally believe that these excited Jews were screaming out a cry of confidence and praise that Jesus had come and His entrance into the city was going to bring about victory. There’s so much to discuss in this passage, because some misunderstood his mission and thought that it would be to overcome Rome and free Israel. But, regardless, I assure you that Jesus entered Jerusalem to victoriously win a war. He came on a journey to face death by crucifixion and rise from a grave that could not hold Him.
Christ is our victory, and hearts cry when trouble comes should be to Jesus—“Hosanna! Hosanna! Regardless of the circumstances, I know that Christ has come and brought in Him my salvation!”
So, know that “Hosanna” is a cry of victory. It’s a cry of assurance, and it’s a cry that can only be made to a Christ who has defeat our sin, and He has defeated death itself. He’s alive today, and He’s already won the victory! What a glorious Savior we have!
This blog post is taken from one of my Facebook posts on this day last year.
My precious father would live only 25 more days. The world around me was cast into a time
of dissension and unrest, driven by the evil of politics and those who would espouse the latest flavor
of an eroding culture suffering from self-compromised character. One year later, I find myself in the same place, literally in the same room, but dad is gone. God's present though. He's always here.
I can recall the many times that I would sit with my father in the early morning hours.
I would listen to him breathe while I studied Scripture. Those moments were precious,
and I'm thankful that I realized just how precious those memories would be in my future.
I engrained those moments into my mind. God spoke to me during those times.
I would often feel like it was just God, my dad and me in the room.
I was right.
I still find it important to get away to a quiet place and talk to Jesus.
I would encourage you to do the same, and I would encourage you to do it often.
My Facebook post is below.
Some thoughts today about our personal time with God…
The world is loud around us, and it’s getting louder—much, much louder. Our culture screams content into our minds daily. We’re fed a constant stream of news reports and social media threads that try desperately to convince us to ally within the confines of our own race, and our own political ideology, challenging us to take our seat at a table that others have preordained appropriate for us. We’re expected to shut-up, sit down and assume a role that we may not agree with and possibly don’t even really understand. We’ll follow like sheep, if we succumb to the rants of a culture that is more “woke” with self-indulgent insanity than it is with Godliness. Our emotional separation from the ridiculous direction that our entire world seems to be headed could never be more important than it is today. If we have any marginal degree of intelligence, or any fear of God, we simply cannot follow the journey our world is trying desperately to undertake, for that journey will devour us all. We have already ventured too far, for too long.
Jesus separated Himself from the world, and He did so by spending time alone with God. Note, I am not referring to time in church. Again, it’s time alone. Before I irreversibly offend those with a thinly-veiled faith, shallow enough to not think about God beyond the confines of a worship service, let me say that church is important, because church is a command of God. So polish up your Bible, iron your church clothes, and get to church, but, know this—churches are packed full of sinful people, many who show little to no personal differentiation from the evil world around them. Don’t expect to always find Jesus at church. His own parents lost Him there, and if we’re not prepared to find Him in private places, we should never have an expectation of finding Him in the middle of a bunch of sinners.
Luke 5:16 says, “But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”
Jesus took moments to distance Himself from the world and from the crowds of people who were all vying for His time and attention. He left them to spend private and intimate time with God, the Father. He knew He needed it, and He knew He needed it often. Why would we ever assume that we could get by without spending some of our time in the same manner?
When we forsake personal time with God, it’s a simple process for the world to infiltrate and saturate our mind. When our personal time with God is not the foundation of our life, we empower other forces to create and shape our worldview. It is then that politicians, news commentators, and even our own friends and family can tell us who we should and should not hate. It is then that we mentally begin to assimilate ourselves into a decaying culture that is openly rotting around us. It is then that our empty void of personal relationship with God can turn our hearts and minds into a sewer of activism for whatever brand of unholy garbage is trending on social media that particular day. We should be better, but being better is an impossibility when our time with God is negligible. If we won’t let God teach us, the world will. If we don't let God refine us, the world will define us. If we don't let God heal us, the world will destroy us.
Withdraw from the world, my friends, and withdraw often. Find time to connect with God, for it is only Him who will show you things more beautiful than your mind can comprehend. Find personal time with a God who will show a million reasons to love your fellow man, serve your brother and live fearless in a world defined by the propagation and controlling power of great fear. God will show you real hope, defined not by political legislation, but by the sovereignty embodied in who He is. And, He will place compassion into your life, because you cannot spend real time alone with God and miss the compassion and mercy extended to us all—everyone, every race, every nation—by the blood of Christ.
The most important part of our life is our time connecting with the God who gave us that very life. If we miss Him—if we neglect Him—then our life is defined by everything in the world that is not Him. Stop allowing the whims of the world define the narrative of your life and opinions. For your own sake, for the sake of your children, for the sake of your fellow man, for the sake of our world, and for the sake of the Gospel of Christ—separate yourself and get alone with a God who deserves to be heard on a personal level.
Jesus knew this was important.
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!