Summary: Don’t concentrate on the help you need, recognise that the helper is right there with you.
PLEA TO PRAISE
"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!’ (Matthew 21: 9)
As Jesus entered Jerusalem on that day long ago, he attracted a large crowd of people. Often Jesus found himself surrounded by crowds of people - people who were for him and people who were against him; people whom he minsitered to and those who found his ministry objectionable; people who were desperately poor and those who were rich; people who were well in body and people who were sick; those who were wanting to learn from him and those who rejected his teaching.
On this day there were crowds of people and it is interesting to observe how the Scripture portrays them. It was an excited crowd! It was a welcoming crowd! It was a crowd that shouted! Crowds do tend to be excited and noisy and such was this crowd that Jesus encountered on the road to Jerusalem. It is Luke’s account of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem gives us this detail, hen he came near the place where the road goes down to the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen" (Luke 19: 38) It seems that the cry of the disciples, was picked up by the rest of the crowd, and they too began to cry "Hosanna". Matthew merely states that the crowds started shouting1 It does not seem improbable that this was the case! I was privileged to receive some free tickets to the Olympic Games. In fact, we were present on the first night of the track and field events. Someone would begin a chant or a shout and it would echo around the stadium. Excitement and noise filled the air1
For many of we know that hosanna means ’save now’. One translation of the hosanna is ’deliver us’ (The Jewish Bible). The crowds who were made aware of Jesus’ authority and power began to yell out ’deliver us’. Just thinking about the crowd for a moment, they needed to be delivered from many things, not least was the political and religious oppression that they experienced at the time. They need to be delivered from the evil that surrounded their daily lives. Life did not offer much hope or promise and the cry of ’hosanna’ captured something of the reality that prevailed in the lives of the many people. In Jesus they saw deliverance, and so their cry was a plea for help. "Hosanna" in most translations is left untranslated, much the same as Hallelujah. It becomes a universal word - a word of deliverance, a cry for help. It is not a word bound by time and space and has great relevance for today! We need help in our everyday lives.
The cry of ’hosanna’ is uttered twice by the excited crowd. But what is not so obvious to us is that the second time it is shouted out by the crowd, its meaning or sense is slightly altered. The plea becomes a note of praise - "Hosanna in the highest!" The cry becomes a shout of confidence. There is no doubt that the deliverer is amongst them. Jesus is the one who will help them. The emphasis is not on the help they need, but the helper who can help them.