Summary: Walk down the Hossanna Road with Jesus and experience the mindset and culture of that day. There is another Triumphal Entry that will just as certainly take place.
Palm Sunday 2002
2000 years ago, the Sadducees had a tradition in which the believed the Messiah would show up four days before Passover. They kept the gates of the Temple open so that He could walk right in to His rightful place. Because of this, Jewish nationalistic fervor was at its peak on this particular day. The Romans would have all troops activated and on alert for this day. They feared the Jews would try another revolt under some religiously crazed radical as had happened in the past. Tensions were very high on that day.
That is the very day Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilling the prophecy of Zech 9:9 (NIV). 9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I have been up and down Hosanna Street in Jerusalem a number of times. If you are coming from Bethlehem and then through Bethany, the road climbs over a ridge and as you reach the crest, spread out before you on the other side of the Kidron Valley is the beautiful city of Jerusalem. I wish I had a projector to show you the scene from this road. The dominant feature in the view of the city is the Dome of the Rock. The Dome of the Rock now stands where the Temple once stood. The rock inside that dome has the footings of the Holy of Holies in the dimensions recorded in God’s word. There is even a carved out area on top of the rock in the dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant. That ridge was once called the Mount of Olives. Two-thirds of the way down that hill into the Kidron Valley is the Church of All Nations and the Garden of Gethsemene.
Jesus went down that road on a donkey. It was a donkey that had never been ridden. This donkey had yielded its back to its Creator and willingly carried Him down that road. That donkey happens to be a lot like us when we came to Jesus for salvation. We come, used to having our own way, but knowing we have met our Creator and need to yield our life to Him. What an honor to be of use to the Creator of all things!
The crowds that had witnessed Lazarus resurrection shouted “Hosanna” which means, “Save us now!” Yasha anna in Hebrew. They are quoting from Psalms 118:25-29 (NIV)25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. 28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
They are saying Jehovah (LORD) save us! To come in the name of the LORD is to come in His authority. He has made His light to shine on us. Jesus said He was the Light of the world. Isaiah predicted the Messiah would be a Light to the Gentiles. Then in verse 27 we have variation in the texts. The NIV is more accurate in translation representing a clearer understand of the original language and predicts they will be waving boughs before Him unto the altar in the Temple. Then verse 28 – You are my God! Oh if only they would have heard their own prophecies that they had memorized so faithfully. And verse 29 is incredible as this is what was sung when the Presence of God filled the first Temple built by Solomon. By the way, it’s a chorus. As the people sang this in Solomon’s day, and I think they sang it more than 2 or 3 times, the Presence of God so filled the Temple that everyone had to step outside. (2Chron 7) And what was happening right there in Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday? The presence of God is about to walk into the Temple, the incarnation of God!