Matthew 21:8-11: A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Read Psalm 118 and verses 25-27 especially. This Psalm was the last and greatest of the Passover hymns which the children of Israel would sing during Holy Week. In this psalm, the Messiah is described as the stone the builders rejected, but which God made the cornerstone. Passover was not only a celebration of God’s deliverance from Egypt. It also looked ahead to when the Messiah would come again. “Hosanna” means “save us,” from verse 25 of Psalm 118.
I was in Jerusalem for the Sabbath Day. At 6:00 on Saturday night, the quiet city breaks out. There was a small band in front of our hotel, and a young man danced and sang over and over again, “Come, Messiah, come!” He danced and sang in a frenzy until he couldn’t anymore. I imagine that the people who welcomed Jesus on that Palm Sunday were singing the verses of this psalm in the same way. They were praying for their Messiah to come.
And he has. He came in humility to do what no army could accomplish, what no national hero could even imagine. He came not to rescue us from economic hardship or from political oppression. He came to deliver us from our bondage to sin. He came to take away the condemnation of the law. He came to give us peace before God through the forgiveness of sins. I don’t think the people on the Mount of Olives understood this.
We sing this “Hosanna” in our communion liturgy in the Sanctus. In the Lord’s Supper, we celebrate that our Messiah has come in the flesh, that he comes to us in the bread and wine of the sacrament, and that he will come again on the last day to deliver us forever. “Hosanna! Save us now!”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, blessed are you, who came and who comes and who will come again in the name of the Lord! In you I find the peace the world cannot give, the joy that lifts up my heart, and the hope that cannot and will not disappoint me. Hosanna! Save now, O Jesus! Amen.