Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD!"
Throughout his ministry, Jesus had proclaimed the coming of the kingdom of God. For first-century Jews, this implied that a divinely anointed royal figure would soon expel the Romans from Judea and reestablish the independent nation of Israel. As Jesus entered Jerusalem prior to the Passover, crowds of people gathered to welcome him. Perhaps he was the one to vanquish Rome and rule as God’s chosen king.
The cries of the people as Jesus rode into Jerusalem echoed Psalm 118:25-26: “Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the LORD.” “Please save us” renders the Hebrew expression hoshi’a na, which comes to us in the familiar Greek form hosanna. The NLT translates this word as “Praise God” because it came to have this significance in the early Christian community. But, as Jesus entered Jerusalem, hosanna was, at its core, a cry for help. Yes, the people were praising Jesus as their coming king. But they were also calling out to him as in Psalm 118: Please, Lord, save us!
When we recognize God’s power and presence, we call out to him with the full breadth of hosanna’s meaning. On the one hand, we cry out for God to help us. Apart from his mercy, we have no hope. But because our merciful God is there for us, we have all the hope in the world. On the other hand, we shout out praise to God for his goodness and power. We lift up our voices to honor him because God has come to save us.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How do you need God to help you today? What would be in your heart as you cry out Hosanna!
PRAYER: O Lord, as I consider your power and grace, I realize how much I need your help. Save me, Lord, from the sin that nips at my heels. Save me from my selfishness and pride. Save me from all that would drag me away from you. Hosanna!
Yet when I consider how good you have been to me, when I remember your mercy, when I think of how you have saved me in the cross and in countless acts of grace besides, then my hosannas take on a different tone. Hosanna! All praise be to you, gracious Lord! Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Amen.
Your Work Matters
What if your work is drudgery? What if getting out of bed to head to your daily grind is just about to push you over the edge? What if Monday morning always arrives with a feeling a dread? We all want to feel as of the work we're doing is meaningful. We want it to fill us up, and we pray it makes a difference in the world for good. But what if you're stuck in a job that has nothing to do with what you feel called to do? What if you feel trapped and discouraged? In the series, Your Work Matters, we'll be asking some of these same questions. We don't promise to have all (or any) of the answers, but we encourage you to wrestle with these tough and painful issues, right along with us. Tell us your story. Offer your wisdom, and come away encouraged that you are not alone, and that God sees you, right where you are.
Featured image above by Ian Sane. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.