And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:4-10
“Hosanna!” Perhaps you’ve heard this word in a church context of worship and honoring God through shouts of praise. Palm Sunday is a typical day when churches use the declaration “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” to proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord. Even when you look into the meaning of “Hosanna” in the dictionary you’ll find, “to express adoration, praise, or joy.” However, the word “Hosanna” in Hebrew literally means “God, save” or “God, save us now.” This means for the people shouting in Mark 11, they are crying out of desperation and shouting for imminent salvation.
How often do we cry out to God in desperation? My assumption is that in the first-world we don’t do this very often. Maybe we cry out for God to relieve our stressors, to heal our infections, to provide for our desires, but not necessarily to kneel down begging God for rescue.
In this passage we see men, women, and children running out into the streets, taking off their jackets, grabbing fresh-cut branches, and throwing them out before Jesus. Then someone starts quoting a well-known Old Testament Psalm and everyone joins in, “Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord” (Psalm 118:25-26).
At the triumphal entry, we see human desperation and worship collide. This cry of desperation is begging Jesus to be the one who saves Israel and it’s rooted in their belief Jesus could actually save them. The Hebrew people reached back into their words of promise and cried out in hope, in longing, in full-fledged trust. We might want to take a note from their book and consider what promises we are still longing to see fulfilled in our life and cry out (with no abandon) to the one we believe could save.
Sometime this week, take an hour or so to sit with the desperation of your heart and kneel down before the Lord in honest time with him. Perhaps you might want to use some background music like this to give you an allotted time-frame to cry out to God.
By Yvonne Biel