John Koedyker

Read: Mark 11:7-11

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! . . . Hosanna in the highest!” (vv. 9-10)

I’ve seen it done many, many times—children and adults marching into the sanctuary on Palm Sunday morning as the service begins, waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna!” It’s always done with great gusto and enthusiasm. Everyone is full of joy. Jesus comes into Jerusalem in triumph!

When we shout the word “Hosanna!” we say it almost like cheerleaders shouting in praise of their team. We treat it as praise to the Lord. However, the word is “hosanna,” not “hallelujah.” “Hallelujah” actually means “Praise the Lord!” Certainly, on a joyful morning like Palm Sunday, the word “hallelujah” would seem appropriate. But the word used in our text is “hosanna” because it means “Save us!”

The people in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday obviously felt the need to be saved from the Romans. That’s what they had in mind when they shouted, “Hosanna!” But when Jesus entered triumphantly into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, he was acknowledging that he was the Messiah for a different purpose. Not to save the Jewish people from the Romans, but to save them from their sins.

Jesus was uniquely qualified to do just that. As a man he was able to identify with us, and as God he was able to save us from our sins. Sin is the basic problem we all have as human beings (Rom. 3:23). So we too join the crowds as they say “Hosanna!” for we all need saving.—John Koedyker

As you pray, offer your hosannas to Jesus!