Lord, Save Us!
There is a lot that can be unpacked in the verses found that describe Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The account is covered in all four Gospels (Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19; and John 12). When looking into this moment in time, we could look at the fulfillment of prophecies from the old testament, the humility of the King of Kings riding on a donkey colt, or the dichotomy of how one week the crowd is gathering and singing praise to Jesus and the next they are witness to his trial and crucifixion.
But one phrase, or rather, one word, stood out to me while studying this passage: “Hosanna.”
It is a word that I have heard so many times over the years regarding Holy Week and Easter. To my amazement, it only shows up six times in the Bible - and it is during this moment Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem riding on the donkey.
This one word actually holds two meanings. One is “please, save us!” or “bring our salvation!” The other is more a celebratory term used to express adoration and praise. So on one side, we see the desperate plea of the people calling out to Jesus to save them and bring their salvation while at the same time celebrating Jesus as the one who they know will bring their deliverance.
We know that Jesus Christ is the only one deserving of this highest praise because he was the only one who could deliver them, us, from bondage and bring salvation. In this particular moment in history, the people shouting “Hosanna” had a different view of what their deliverance would look like. They were expecting freedom from the Roman rule that was over them. What they did not know was that Jesus would deliver them from something far greater than the Roman government. He would break the bondage of sin that had held people at a distance from God since Adam and Eve fell. Those chains would be forever broken, allowing people to be freed of sin and enter into a right standing with God.
Going back to the word “Hosanna,” it is interesting to think about what it is like to live in both those meanings simultaneously. Do we live that way? Do we seek God in our circumstances but at the same time believe that He has already declared victory over them? Sometimes we cry out to God to save us because we feel hopeless, ashamed, overwhelmed, and in despair. But do we realize that He already has victory over those situations and circumstances?
You see, the encouragement that I gain from this word is that we can invite him into our situations, we can cry out to Him for deliverance, and we can rejoice that he is willing and able to come up alongside us to deliver us in a far greater way than we can ever imagine. Let that sink in.
So this Holy Week, as we hear the word “Hosanna,” let us think about the ways we want to invite God into our lives, and let us also praise and rejoice in the salvation and deliverance He already has brought and is bringing.