Palm Sunday Year B
We use a word today in worship that we don't use every week. It is a word we like to shout almost as if we were shouting HIP HIP HOORAY! Shout with me . . . HIP HIP HOORAY.
But you won't hear us shouting HIP HIP HOORAY in our songs today. The word you heard in today's scriptures and will sing in today's songs is the word HOSANNA. This is a word we always use on Palm Sunday, the day we remember how Jesus was met by the people of Jerusalem as he entered the city to celebrate the Jewish holiday, the Passover. The word HOSANNA comes to us through a few languages including Greek, Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke), and Hebrew.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem 2000 years ago, the people were excited to see him. They had heard about his miracles, especially the miracle that he had raised Lazarus from the dead. Imagine that! Jesus brought a man who had been dead for several days back to life. Lazarus was no longer dead. He was alive and well. People were very excited about this news. They were excited to see a miracle worker.
As Jesus, the miracle worker, came close to the city they saw him riding on a donkey and they shouted to him HOSANNA.
Although they shouted HOSANNA like we would shout HIP HIP HOORAY, the word actually means something very different. HIP HIP HOORAY is an expression that doesn't mean much more than "Isn't this great!" But HOSANNA is actually a prayer. It means. "Save me, I pray!" It was a recognition that this Jesus who was their great city of Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, had the power to save.
We still believe that Jesus has the power to save. We don't only believe it. We know it. That's why we call Jesus our Saviour.
Today is a special joyful day. Jesus is coming into the city. He is coming to save us. Let's shout together. HOSANNA, Save me, I pray! (have people repeat this with you)