Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday?
Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, which is the week before Easter, commemorating events in the last days of Jesus Christ's life. According to ancient scriptures Jesus rode into Jerusalem where people gave him a hero's welcome during the Jewish Passover celebration.
As he rode in on a donkey with all his disciples following, people threw down their clothes and tree branches for the donkey to walk on. It was like rolling out the red carpet.
The tree branches would’ve most likely been from palm trees.
This is why we call it Palm Sunday.
As Jesus is riding in on the donkey people are shouting a word…
What does Hosanna mean?
This is not a word that was made up my Hillsong United.
When the word "hosanna" occurs in the New Testament, it’s the the same word in Greek- "hosanna." When it was translated we just used English letters (h-o-s-a-n-n-a) to make the sound of the Greek word.
The Greek dictionary will tell you that it’s not even a Greek word. Those who wrote the New Testament in Greek did the same thing to a Hebrew word that the English translators did to the Greek word.
They just used Greek letters to make the sound of a Hebrew phrase. Our English word "hosanna" comes from a Greek word "hosanna" which comes from a Hebrew phrase…
And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament.
Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. Like when someone is falling: "Help, save me . . . Hoshiya na!"
But something happened to that phrase, the meaning changed over the years. In the psalm it was immediately followed by the exclamation: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The cry for help, hoshiya na, was answered before the author could blink. Over time the phrase stopped being a cry for help.
Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation.
It used to mean, "Save, please!"
But gradually, it came to mean, "Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!"
It used to be what you would say when you were falling.
But it came to be what you would say when someone was about to catch you.
"Hosanna!" means, "Hooray for salvation! It's coming! It's here! Salvation! Salvation is here!"
This is why people shouted it when Jesus rode in on a donkey.
This is why we celebrate Palm Sunday.
Salvation is here.