Hosannas or Hallelujahs?

Prayer: Ride on, ride on in majesty! Hark! All the tribes hosanna cry.
     O Savior meek, pursue Thy road,
              With palms and scattered garments strowed.

         Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die.
O Christ, Thy triumphs now begin
O’er captive death and conquered sin.

Read: John 12:9–19

Think about It: Palm Sunday conjures up the use of one word – Hosanna! The only time we find this word used in the entire Bible is in 3 of the four Gospels as the events of what we now call Palm Sunday are told. In fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the back of donkey colt for He is the true King. The people gather to greet Him, for by this point He is famous. He is the One who can provide food where there is none. He is the One who can heal the lame and blind. He is the One who casts out demons with a mere word. He is the One who   actually raises people from the dead! So the people gather, waving palm branches and laying their cloaks down on the path before Him. And while He passes, they shout “Hosanna!” The reason we don’t use this word very much in our own worship is because it really doesn’t mean very much. It simply means “save.” These people were looking at the One who could indeed save them from eternal destruction, but they were interesting in being saved from other things – like famine, sickness, and the rule of tyrants.

Today when we want to worship our God, we use words like Alleluia and Praise. Now these are strong words! Psalm 106:1a says, “Praise the Lord!” (As do numerous other Psalms!) Alleluia could also be put into that sentence, as the two words are the same in the Hebrew. The actual definition is the fascinating point for the day. “Praise the Lord” and “Hallelujah” actually mean FLASH FORTH the Name of Yahweh! Now that’s some action for you. It brings up images of lightning; that sudden bursting forth of energy and power that is found in the Name of God.   Genesis 1:3 describes the creation of light this way. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,” and there was light.” The word for “let there be” is Yahweh! He uses His own name to flash forth the creation of the world. It’s a fantastic picture.

So on Palm Sunday, while the kids are waving their palms and shouting “Hosanna!” you can smile and realize that we truly do have a God who saves and is worthy of explosive praise and shouted Hallelujahs!

Prayer: Ride on, ride on in majesty! Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh.
          The Father on His sapphire throne Awaits His own anointed Son

                   Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die.
            Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain,
            Then take, O God, Thy pow’r and reign.