Here we are on Palm Sunday – one week before Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead – and His ultimate defeat over death and Satan. Jesus had been involved with His ministry, teaching the apostles and performing miracles, for about three years and now He is entering Jerusalem on a colt. The people are praising Him and we generally commemorate this day with the waving of palm branches – especially our children and grandchildren.
Remember when you were a little child and received a palm branch on Palm Sunday? I sure do! But it doesn’t seem that churches are as inclined to recreate the walk down the aisle with the children waving palms like they used to do in the old days. I miss the processional, but I digress…
The Scripture tells us that the people were shouting “Hosanna” as Jesus triumphantly entered the city but it occurred to me that very few people really understand what the word means – and how different the people would act less than a week later when they called for the crucifixion of Jesus. Most of us think that it is a type of praise or worship and while that is the current usage, the one we have come to expect, it wasn’t always that way. The root words of Hosanna are actually found in Psalm 118:25. The first word – “yasha” means “to save” and the second word – “anna” means “I (or we) beg you”. When these two Hebrew words are put together, we get “hosanna” in our English pronunciation. And the meaning of the word is, “we beg you to save…”
So, as Jesus was entering Jerusalem, the people were actually asking Jesus to save them! And what’s even more remarkable is the fact that Jesus was there for that very purpose. In less than a week, though, the people would be calling for His death and they had no idea how God the Father had planned for Jesus to defeat death on the cross. All they knew was that they wanted to be saved and they sensed that Jesus had the power and authority to do that.
Whether they realized that the death and resurrection of Jesus would be the vehicle of their salvation is doubtful, as Jesus had be preaching and teaching people for several years and even the disciples hadn’t grasped the horrific circumstances of His upcoming death and triumph over death. But it is remarkable that the people were begging to be saved and as time progressed, the plea for salvation turned into a form of worship and adoration.
Our verse for this evening comes from the book of John. The apostle whom Jesus loved tells us in John 12:13, “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”. As you can see, John highlights the shouts of the crowd as Jesus entered Jerusalem the week before His death. My encouragement tonight is that Jesus is still the path to our salvation. By proclaiming Him as Lord and Savior of your life, your plea for being saved will be answered for all eternity. My prayer is that as we enter this Holy Week, and remember the events of the death and resurrection of Jesus, you will be filled with wonder, awe and grateful appreciation for the sacrifices that have been borne by Him on our behalf. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…