Hosanna, hosanna, You are the God who saves us,
Worthy of all our praises.
Hosanna, hosanna, come have Your way among us;
We welcome you here, Lord Jesus.
–Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
On Palm Sunday, the crowd at Jerusalem shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.” This week at our commemoration of Palm Sunday, we’ll sing similar words. But there’s a major difference between our words and those of many in that crowd at Jerusalem.
Here’s the difference: we have the full picture now.
We see throughout the gospels that not many people understood who or what Jesus was during His life on earth. They saw Him as a teacher, a rabbi, a prophet–or a troublemaker. They saw a man who performed unbelievable signs and wonders, but they did not fully understand what He came to earth to do. The whole chapter of John 7 gives a good picture of the public attitude toward Jesus at the time. In John 12:16, even His disciples had no idea what was going on as He rode into Jerusalem.
But now, as believers, we have the full picture–to the extent that our human minds can understand it. We have the testimony of Jesus Himself, fulfilled through His death and resurrection, and the testimony of His apostles and those who saw Him on earth, preserved for us in scripture. We have the Holy Spirit with us now to speak to our hearts. We can see that He was the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies (even the people’s inability to believe was a fulfillment of prophecy, we read in John 12:37-41), and we can understand that instead of coming to set up an earthly kingdom, His kingdom is not of this world. Instead of coming to free the Jews from Roman rule, He came to free all who believe–from sin and death and eternal punishment. We no longer wonder, “Who is this man?” We know. He is our Savior and Redeemer.
Wonderful, merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and Friend;
Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men?
You are the One that we praise, You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for.
–Wonderful, Merciful Savior
But there’s also sadness in our knowledge of the full picture, because unlike the disciples and the crowd praising Him that day, we know what’s coming next. That’s why our service will progress from the choir’s triumphant opening and our own songs of “Hosanna” to close with these words:
For me it was in the garden He prayed, “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine.
He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own.
He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone.
–I Stand Amazed in the Presence
And the next time we gather, it will be not with Palm Sunday’s joy and triumph but the stark contrast of our Good Friday service, where we’ll sing together:
I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross.
–Here I Am to Worship
This is where we must confront the for ourselves: why we can worship and sing praises triumphantly. Our freedom came with a cost, a cost we can’t begin to understand.
Hosanna (Praise Is Rising): words and music by Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche. Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music (PRS)/Integrity’s Hosanna! Music. Wonderful, Merciful Savior: words by Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse and music by Dawn Rodgers. Copyright 1989 Word Music, LLC/Dayspring Music, LLC. Here I Am to Worship: words and music by Tim Hughes. Copyright 2001 Thankyou Music (PRS).