Tomorrow’s Palm Sunday. Pretty much the one time each year we use the word, Hosanna.

Hosanna to the Son of David!

Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!

Hosanna seems to be a praise word, right? But it got me thinking…what does Hosanna really mean?

Here’s a great explanation from John Piper:

The New Testament was first written in Greek, and the Old Testament was first written in Hebrew. Wherever the word "hosanna" occurs in our New Testament the Greek word is "hosanna." English translators used English letters (h-o-s-a-n-n-a) to make the sound of a Greek word.

But if you look in a Greek dictionary it is not originally a Greek word. The men who wrote the New Testament in Greek did the same thing to a Hebrew word: they used Greek letters to make the sound of a Hebrew phrase. Our English word "hosanna" comes from a Greek word "hosanna" which comes from a Hebrew phrase hoshiya na.

And that Hebrew phrase is found in one place in the Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. Like when somebody pushes you off the diving board before you can swim and you come up hollering: "Help, save me . . .Hoshiya na!"

But something happened to that phrase, hoshiya na. The meaning changed over the years. In the psalm it was immediately followed by: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The cry for help, hoshiya na, was answered almost before it came out of the psalmist's mouth. And over the centuries the phrase hoshiya na stopped being a cry for help in the ordinary language of the Jews. Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation. It used to mean, "Save, please!" But gradually, it came to mean, "Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!" It used to be what you would say when you fell off the diving board. But it came to be what you would say when you see the lifeguard coming to save you! It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can't keep it in. So "Hosanna!" means, "Hooray for salvation! It's coming! It's here! Salvation! Salvation!"

And "Hosanna to the Son of David!" means, "The Son of David is our salvation! Hooray for the king! Salvation belongs to the king!" And "Hosanna in the highest!" means, "Let all the angels in heaven join the song of praise. Salvation! Salvation!" *

We can shout “Hosanna!” because we are delighted to hear the Good News that Jesus saves us. And because we are saved, we acknowledge that all we have is a gift from God. And that’s really worth shouting Hosanna!

It’s a big day tomorrow:
Palm Sunday kicks off Holy Week
We welcome special guest Rev. Dr. Larron Jackson
A trio of musicians
Consecration Sunday -- our spiritual practice for making a commitment to God of our financial resources
Celebration Luncheon – downstairs in the RCHS commons

We’ll be looking for you tomorrow at 9 or 10:30.

Hosanna! Jesus saves!

* Edited from http://www.desiringgod.org/ser

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