“Hosanna in the highest!” Even when we do not fully understand this term, it brings joy, comfort, and vibrant spiritual movement. But is this something we have created through the growth of Christianity? Or does this word, Hosanna, have a deeper meaning than just a song lyric? What does this word have to do with Palm Sunday and is there a Bible verse we can reference? Through our Defined mini series, we look at words such as these. Phrases and meanings that often have been long forgotten, but we still feel God’s presence when we speak them in praise. So, let’s dive in to discover more about Hosanna!
Defining Hosanna in the Highest: Meaning and Palm Sunday
Hosanna is very much Biblical and found translated in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Aramaic. It has a special place in Judaism and the seventh day of the festival, but to Christians, this word is beyond defining. Why? As our Savior rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, this is the word you would have heard shouted by the crowds. They were shouting it in recognition of the Messiah. The son of David, the one who saves; Jew and Gentile alike, Hosanna is a special kind of recognition and respect. So, let’s dig deeper and discover why!
Interpreting from Hebrew, we find its use from Exodus through Zechariah. It is used in the old testament mostly to mean ‘to save’ or deliver; however, also was used to mean salvation, savior, help, victory, preserve, avenge, deliver, defend, and rescue. Imagine the power this word must bring to the Jewish people!
Now, place yourself along the street on Palm Sunday and Christ arrives on the back of a donkey. What did it mean for the crowd to use Hosanna as he entered their sight? Perhaps, for a moment, the crowd saw Jesus for who he really is. The Savior, the one who saved us and helps us to victory. He delivered us from our sins and rescued us from our unrighteousness.
Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Psalms 118:25 NIV
Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!" Mark 11:9-10 NIV
Hosanna lives on in Christianity with more meaning and feeling then we can ever put into words. We sing Hosanna in an exclamation of adoration (deepest of love and respect). There is a reason your hair stands up and your body suddenly feels lifted when you speak this word in praise. You are exclaiming to God, as a Christian, “oh, Save me” King of kings.
Today, exclaim Hosanna and give Jesus praise for what He did to give us victory. He is truly the Savior in the Highest. Remember, this is the same word the Hebrew people would sing as they were saved from Egypt. It was the victory cry of the Israelites as God delivered them from their enemies. From kings to prophets, Hosanna is the outcry of believers who give up their own control and give their problems to God. By doing so, we can then sing our songs of praise, even before the battle is even fought. Why? Because Christ is the embodiment of Hosanna, He is the Savior and the battle is already won.
Want more Defined Christian Devotions? Check out Grace and Apocalypse!
Written by Jon and Kathleen Frederick, Founders of Seven11 and Authors of the book, “Immersion: An Inspirational Christian Photography Collection“