Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Does “Hosanna” Mean What Your Church Taught You?


Several of you and almost every Christian has heard the word Hosanna, and many of us have even used it at one point in life. In most cases, people have used it as “Praise the Lord.” Did you know that the word does not mean what it is said to mean? In this lesson, you will know the meaning of the word, and see why it was used that way on Jesus. Today. I will treat Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem and its consequences on the people of his days and us today. The lesson comes from the following passages Mt. 21:1-11; cf. Mk. 11:1-11; Lk. 19:29-44; Jn. 12:12-19. I will do a verse to verse commentary as my methodology, and I will use John 12:13-14 as the passage.

Verse 13. The multitude spread their garments; others used tree branches to welcome him as the days of Feast of Tabernacles. John adds that the people held palm fronds in their hands. The Romans honored people by giving them palm fronds with the inscription “Palmam qui meruit ferat.” It means “ Let him bear the palm who has deserved it.” During the days of persecution, the martyrs held it as a sign of victory over their persecutors, their flesh and the world.

Verse 14. Why did Jesus use a donkey rather than a horse? The kingdom he was to establish did not need a horse. He was fighting a spiritual war and not a physical war. Horses were used for physical warfare. Weapons of spiritual warfare are not carnal (2 Cor 10:4; Eph 6: 12-18). A donkey was a sign of peace. His kingdom will bring peace and everlasting peace. In those days, common travelers used asses while high level personalities used horses. Horses were faster while asses took their time to saunter. So Jesus took a donkey in marked contrast with the zeitgeist to show that he came for the downtrodden; those that sin has beaten down and are overweighed by the effects thereof.


This is the way a king was honored in Israel as we see with king Jehu (2 kings 19: 13). To the people, Jesus was their king. Indeed he was a king, but not the way they thought. The people of Israel were desperate for a king as you read the account by Gamaliel (Acts 5: 36-37).

Two things we learn here; the principles of leadership. Churches and pastors were to lead and not manage people. The church is not an industry or business organization. Those who have tried to make it so in Jesus’ days were whipped out of the temple. The church and pastors were to lead people to Christ and then train others to lead others to Christ. Jesus has people he is training here who will fit his shoes when he is gone.

During the last year of Herod’s reign, a man named Theudas gathered about 400 people to overthrow the rule of Rome over the Israelites. Him and his people were crushed and order was restored. That crushed the hope of the Jews who remained under foreign bondage.

After some time, Judea was tired being under foreign domination. Consequently, another sect called the Essenes came to join the Pharisees and Sadducees. However, Essenes believed in a physical kingdom; thus, they wanted to take away the power from the Romans. The sect of Essenes was begun by Judas of Galilee. He too because God did not bless the insurrection failed and was killed. Consequently, the Jews have lost in two rebellions and were now hopeless for a Messiah. To them, it was not a messiah for their sins but to unleash them from the shackles and manacles of Rome.

When the Lord is leading your way, he makes even your enemies to be at peace with you (Prov 16:9). Do you see how everyone just obeyed him when Jesus sent for the donkey which was not even his? This is a sign that the Lord had sent him. In addition, Jesus uses the ass to fulfill scripture (Zech 9:9).

Take particular note of this verse 9. The people cried, save us. But then they say “Hosanna to the son of David: blessed in he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” The king was to come from the lineage of King David. Some other ones like Theudas and Judas the Galilean came, but it was not the Lord who sent them, so they perished. This time around, please save us.

Hosanna means “save, we pray.” The salvation they wanted was from the Romans. Therefore, the word Hosanna does not mean praise as the church has become used to saying. It is not going to be the last time that the Jews will mistake the mission of Jesus. In the days of the apostles, immediately after his resurrection, the apostles asked him, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). What they mean here is that ok, during other times we hoped for a messiah to gain back our territory from Rome, but it did not work. You came and walked through Jerusalem, and we thought you will finally hand it to us, but you were killed. Now that you have braved death after three days, will you then hand us the kingdom?

Hitherto, many preachers and Christians still mistake Jesus’ kingdom for a physical kingdom. Jesus did not come for a physical kingdom; he came to set us free from our sins.

Immediately as they were saying it, the chief priests were trembling. The issue here is that although Rome was in charge, she ruled by delegated authority or by proxy. Rome appointed the chief priests who reported to the Roman governor. In case of any rebellion, the chief priests were first held accountable before the general populace. So each time the people came up like this welcoming Jesus, it reminded them of a rebellion, and the consequences that ensued. That is why it will be the chief priests first to start accusing and fighting Jesus as a trouble maker. When they (the Pharisees, Sadducees and chief priests) accused him, they arrested him with no charge and took him to Annas (a retired former high priest). Annas did not find anything wrong with him (Jhn 18:13-24). Not satisfied, they took him to the current high priest Caiaphas who also did not find anything wrong (Jn 18:49-50). All of this at night (Jn 18:3). This was not a mistake; it was to fulfill scripture that the Lord of lords was to die as a ransom for the sins of mankind. Therefore, Jesus came that we might have life and life abundantly. He did not come for a physical kingdom but for a spiritual kingdom, although there are serious benefits that go with our salvation. So taking him to Pilate (Mk 15:1) who still did not find any fault in him was a mere divine plan to give us-sinners, salvation.

Jesus came to set us free by giving his life on the cross to redeem us. He showed that he came for all humanity and all sinners who are willing to repent. Are you willing to repent of your sins? Those who heard and accepted his message of salvation, he gave them rest from sin and rest from their problems. Aren’t the wages of sin overweighing you? Why are you still carrying your burdens when instead giving them to Christ who cares fro you? I know you have been crying Hosanna. Hosanna, but you have done that to the world and the devil. It is high time you cry unto Jesus and tell him, “Jesus, son of David -save us.

Until then, let Jesus be the real king in your life.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk
“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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