I’m fascinated, perplexed, pole-axed, betrayed in turns when I read the accounts of Jesus coming into Jerusalem , riding on a donkey, a triumph for him, a week before His crucifixion, with people waving palm branches and shouting ‘Hosanna”. Most of these people would turn their backs on Him and shout “Crucify Him”.
I’ll explain those emotions in a moment, but what I’ve laid out is just the barebones account of it all. It’s like saying Person A went to place B riding on animal C with people saying D 🙂
This triumphal entry is mentioned in all 4 gospel accounts in the Bible, but to the skeleton of the story, each account adds different muscles and ligaments.
In Matthew 21: 1-17, Jesus tells 2 disciples to go ahead into the village at Bethphage, and find an un-ridden young colt, and it only mentions that this is done to fulfill the prophesy, and then a large number of people laid their cloaks on the donkey and the road and cut branches from a tree and cried/sang “Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’[c] ‘Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!’“. While entering Jerusalem there is a stir and the people want to know who He is, to which they receive the reply, “He is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee”. Jesus enters the temple and overturns (again) the money changers’ tables and drives out those who were buying and selling. Jesus heals the blind and the lame, and the children cry out to Him in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David“. The chief priests are indignant and come to Jesus to make this stop, Jesus then quotes Psalm 8:2 ‘“From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise”[g]’“. Jesus then goes to Bethany and spends the night there.
In Mark 11:1-11, Jesus is near Bethphage and Bethany , He sends 2 disciples with instructions to untie the colt and what to say, they go there to the village and do what He says , the people spread branches that they had cut from the fields. The crowd cries ‘Hosanna![a]’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’[b] 10 ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Then Jesus goes to the temple and looks around, and since it was late , He and the 12 go to Bethany.
In Luke 19:28-46, Jesus sends 2 disciples ahead with instructions (detailed) on where to find the colt and what to say. The disciples do it and bring the donkey to Jesus, they spread their cloaks on the donkey, and other people spread their cloaks on the ground and as Jesus is riding, they joyfully sing out ” 38 ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’[a] ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” The priests ask Jesus to rebuke them, and He replies ” If they’re quiet, the stones will cry out”. Jesus approaches Jerusalem and weeps over the city because of her un-repentance and then He enters the city and drives out the commercially minded people in the Temple.
In John 12:12-19, The crowd that came for the festival (Passover) hear Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem, so they took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna![a]’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’[b] ‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’” Jesus finds a donkey and sits on it. It is mentioned the disciples did not understand then, but after Christ is glorified, they remember all that He did to fulfill the scriptures.
All 4 accounts are basically similar. All 4 accounts have different details mentioned though.
“Hosanna” which is now part of many songs is widely believed to be an expression of praise similar to “Hallelujah”. I held to that belief until I was disabused of it just recently. “Hosanna” actually means “Please save me or Deliver me” You can read the rest of “Hosanna ” at GotQuestions. com. The block below has the root words from here Hosanna comes.
Hosanna is often thought of as a declaration of praise, similar to hallelujah, but it is actually a plea for salvation. The Hebrew root words are found in Psalm 118:25, which says, “Save us, we pray, O LORD!” (ESV). The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that, in English, is “hosanna.” Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”
So……… a crowd of people are joyfully and uninhibitedly shouting “Please save me” and then in less than a week, the same people are screaming with rage “Crucify Him”.
What does that take? Would you be filled with rage? Anger? Bitterness? Resentment? Pent up expectations? Unmet needs? What would make you desire another person’s horrible and painful death? Another human being. A good man and a great teacher . One who taught with authority. One who healed people. One who provided bread. One who raised the dead. I believe with everything in me that Jesus was and is and will be God. He was God when He was human, and He is still God now. He is not merely a good teacher or a great man. Those sentences above , perhaps , described the feelings of some people of Jesus’ time.
I’m not sure though, on the other hand, I have a pretty good idea. What would make you shake your fist at God? To yell and scream and curse and turn away from Him? Divorce? Abuse? Molestation? Death ? Chronic illness? Loss of job? Poverty? Bankruptcy? Disillusionment? Disappointment? Despair ? All of those and probably many more are reasons people use to turn away from or not accept Him in the first place.
While these situations and more that I can’t imagine are all terrible, and pain filled, and hurtful, and have lasting consequences and seem like they have no resolution, may I encourage you to turn from “Crucify Him” back to “Hosanna” . Return to Him. Give Him your love, your devotion, your surrender. He is right there with you in your sorrows. He sees your tears. He knows the end. He sees how the tapestry of your life here and in heaven is woven and HE CARES ABOUT YOU. Nothing you’re going through will make Him turn His back on you. Nothing that you do will be too much for Him to handle. I have no reasons for why life is difficult, (please don’t assume that we’re living an easy life right now, we’re not as a family, for more read this about our journey as son was diagnosed with Autism)., but I do know that HE IS ENOUGH FOR ME.
I grew up in the church and in a Christian family, and I accepted Christ for myself as a teenager. I married a Christian and we “did” the Christian lifestyle for many years. But it has only been recently as we have clung to Him, separately and together as a couple, that we’ve come to a place where we can say with all confidence, that nothing will we hold back from Him. Not our marriage, not our children, not health (theirs and ours), not job security, not our reputations, not our family. With giving control completely to Him, He has restored our marriage, He has shown us how our son has been improving, He has given favour in my husband’s job, He has brought people in our lives to counsel/ help/ encourage/ pray/ mentor us as we are far from our respective families.
He has done it, and we are so overwhelmed by His goodness. I can honestly say that I can turn to Him and praise Him with a “Hallelujah” or plead with Him with a “Hosanna”. He hears my pleas. He is close to me when I am broken. He lifts me when I fall down. He accepts my praise. He deserves my devotion and worship. And He has it.
If you’re not there yet, may I direct your attention to Psalm 73? My favourite verses are
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterwards you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion for ever.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
If you are in the place where your “crucify Him” has turned to “Hosanna” and “Blessed is the Lord” please share that with us, so we can be thankful for what God has done in your lives and glorify Him.
With joy and peace ,