Happy and Blessed Palm Sunday! God bless you all! This is a beautiful day of celebration for Christians all over the world. It is the day we remember when Jesus, our King and Lord and Savior, rode into Jerusalem to ultimately complete His mission of defeating sin and death and proving to the world once and for all that He is the resurrection and the life!
Before I get to the historical account of Jesus entering Jerusalem, I want to dive deeper into that beautiful word “Hosanna.” As Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people placed their cloaks and palm branches on the road, the crowd of people going ahead of Him and following Him used the word “Hosanna” as they gave praise to Jesus. If you are like me, I like to know what words mean, so I study the Hebrew and Greek root words of the Bible. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. From there it was translated into Latin and then into our modern English.
Hosanna is a word with Hebrew roots and understanding its meaning truly helps us gain a full understanding of what the people were saying to Jesus. Here is an excerpt from some research I did today:
“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 when the people were shouting “hosanna” or “yasha anna” to Jesus, they were literally crying out to Him to save them! They were giving Him glory as their King and giving Him glory as the only One who could save them!
Let’s take a look at the Scriptures with this understanding in mind:
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to the Daughter of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people were praising Him and asking Him for salvation and deliverance and that is exactly what He had come to do!
Going a little deeper into history: That photo above is the Eastern Gate in Jerusalem. The original gate that Jesus entered through is actually buried underneath that, but this is the location where Jesus rode into Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago.
“The Eastern Gate of Jerusalem is also called the Golden Gate or the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:2). In Hebrew, it is Sha’ar Harahamim, the “Gate of Mercy.” It is currently the oldest gate in the Old City, having been constructed in the 6th or 7th century AD. Also, it is the gate that gives the most direct access to the temple mount—if a person could pass through the arches of the Eastern Gate, he would be very close to where the Jewish temple used to stand. When Jesus entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives in Matthew 21, He used a gate in the same location as the current Eastern or Golden Gate.
The Eastern Gate was sealed shut in AD 1540–41 by order of Suleiman the Magnificent, a sultan of the Ottoman Empire. It’s believed that the reason for the closing of the Eastern Gate was to prevent the Jewish Messiah from gaining entrance to Jerusalem. Jewish tradition states that the Messiah will pass through the Eastern Gate when He comes to rule. The Muslim Suleiman was attempting to thwart the Messiah’s plans with sixteen feet of cement. The Eastern Gate has remained sealed for nearly the past 500 years.”
“The Eastern Gate of Jerusalem is not the same one that Jesus rode through in His triumphal entry. The modern Eastern Gate was not constructed until centuries after the time of Christ. The original gate that Nehemiah built (and possibly dating to the time of Solomon) is underground, below the current gate, as documented by archaeologist James Fleming in 1969. It was through the lower gate (now underground) that Jesus would have entered Jerusalem.”
It’s sad that the Ottomans thought they could stop the Messiah by sealing the gate shut with concrete. Not only would they never be able to stop Jesus from entering Jerusalem, they were over 1500 years late in sealing it shut. Nothing in this whole world would have stopped Jesus from fulfilling His mission to save our souls and He alone is our salvation!
Hosanna in the highest! They were saying, “Lord, we beg you, save us and deliver us in the greatest of ways!” Thank You Jesus for saving us in the highest by dying for our sins and giving eternal life to all those who believe in You!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Jesus speaking in John 3:16-17
Grace and peace to you all!