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!
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!