Within this single word a shout of triumph resides. Beginning with a plea, it turns to praise, from a cry for mercy to confidence.
“Hosanna” comes from Psalm 118, a psalm of ascent as God’s people walked up the hill to Jerusalem for Passover. The words translated “Save now, I beseech thee” in verse 25 are transliterated “Hosanna” in the Gospels.
Other parts of Psalm 118 are sung in all four accounts of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ. Luke says in 19:38, “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”
Jesus also quoted the 22nd verse of the Psalm in three of the accounts, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.”
The Psalm prophesies that Messiah would be sacrificed in verse 27 where it says to “bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.”
Used 205 times and translated many ways, Hosanna is much more than a beautiful word. Let me give you four things I declare when I say, “Hosanna.”
It means I WELCOME HIS SALVATION.
Zechariah 9:9 says, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and HAVING SALVATION; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
The nation of Israel wanted a savior, but one who would rescue them from political oppression and set up an earthly kingdom.
But, the purpose of Jesus’ first advent was to “open the gates of righteousness”–to save His people from the spiritual oppression and bondage of their sin.
Oh how I need this kind of Savior! In this, I say, “Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord!”
It means I ACKNOWLEDGE HIS AUTHORITY.
Genesis 49:10-11 prophesy the coming of Messiah as a triumphant king who brings peace. However, throughout the life of Jesus, he disappeared when throngs spoke of crowning Him king.
Yet, on this day–the day prophesied by Daniel, Zechariah, and others–Jesus allowed the crowd to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed be the King who comes!”
When his enemies rebuked Him, Jesus said, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
I join with the children shouting, “Hosanna!” I crown Jesus King of my life and destiny.
It means I WORSHIP HIS DEITY.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew exactly what the children were shouting. They were referencing Psalm 24:8-10. “Who is this king of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.”
This Psalm was also sung as they ascended the hill of Jerusalem for Passover. It was a direct prophecy of the “king of glory” who would enter the gates of Jerusalem on this very day. The LORD refers to YHWEH, Jehovah. The Almighty God.
The disciples were even confused about this. John 12:16 says they did not understand why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt and allowed others to shout deifying praises. Always before He had hidden from open praise.
That night, after such a dramatic day, Jesus spoke of leaving them. “Where are you going?” Peter asked. Thomas said, “We don’t know the way.” Philip pled, “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Not until after the resurrection did they understand that Jesus was not only the only way, the truth, and the life; He and the Father were ONE.
Jesus IS God and every shout of “Hosanna!” is rightly directed to Him.
It means I SUBMIT TO HIS SOVEREIGNTY.
Psalm 118 is powerfully laid out to show that God had a perfect plan in the death of the Messiah. As I have stated, verse 25 refers to this death, but the first part of the verse says, “God is the LORD, which hath showed us light.”
Later in the day, Jesus told the throngs who followed him, “Yet a little while is the light with you…while you have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”
He was pointing them to the prophecy they had sung that morning from Psalm 118. “Look,” He was saying. “I am the One! God is showing you light and soon will provide Himself a lamb for Passover.”
They refused to see it. “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him,” was the sad conclusion in John 13:37.
Less than a week later, the prophesied death of the Messiah was accomplished, just as Psalm 118 and Jesus Himself had said.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” As the psalmist said in 118:23, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
There at the cross all may come and receive salvation full and free.
So, when I shout, “Hosanna!” I mean:
I welcome my Savior. I acknowledge my King. I worship my God. And I submit to my Sovereign Lord!