Robert D Pace


Passover. It was the week Christ was born to confront. Everything about his life, from his birth onward, would culminate during these next seven days. False accusations. Vengefulness. Ridicule. Can you imagine this being your fate? Can you imagine being a child and hearing your parents explain this as your mission in life? Let’s try to conceive what Christ’s Heavenly Father whispered to him as a child:

My Son, you are born to die for your enemies. Others will commit terrible crimes, but you will be apprehended and judged guilty for their lawlessness. You’ll choose twelve to be your close friends, but they will all flee when you need them most. Ultimately, you will be falsely accused, mocked, slapped, spit on, crowned with thorns, beaten with thirty-nine lashes, nailed to a cross, and then die in public disgrace. This is your destiny! 

If this began as the story of your life, how would you handle it? Yet, this is what happened to Jesus! . . . And this is the week, known as Passover, that Christ was born to face. It was a week that the Jews had commemorated since their miraculous escape from Egypt. It’s when Moses commanded the Israelites to slay a lamb and smear its blood over their doorposts. That night, as the Death Angel soared through Egypt, he took the lives of all the firstborn—whether humans or cattle. But for those that applied the blood, the angel would pass over. Thus, it became known as the Feast of Passover. But this Passover would be different. This time Jesus would offer himself as the Passover Lamb. 

So how did Jesus face this week? For about seven days, Jesus and the Apostles rested in Bethany at the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. These were likely Jesus’ closest friends outside the Apostles. It seems that Jesus used their home as a retreat center during his 3½-year ministry. He felt comfortable around them. Much of his reason for retreating to their home was to gather physical and mental strength to endure the abuses he would suffer the next week. 

It was during this ten-day retreat that Mary understood that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to die. So she broke the alabaster box and poured perfume on Christ’s feet. The Bible says the cost of this perfume was a year’s wages! Jesus paused to remind everyone in the house that Mary had anointed him for one purpose—his coming death.

When his days of rest eventuated at Bethany, he embarked on his ‘trip of destiny’ toward Jerusalem and the Cross. The cities were separated by two miles, and when he reached the outskirts of Jerusalem he stopped in order to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. It’s a prophecy that I’ll examine for a good portion of today’s message. The prophet said: 

“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

There’s an obvious disclosure within Zechariah’s words: he discloses  that the true Messiah would one day ride into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. This would be a primary sign to the Jews that this was their messiah. And, of course, Jesus was well aware of this prophecy. Thus, he paused and sent two disciples to retrieve the animals before he entered Jerusalem.

Early in his ministry, after working numerous miracles in Bethsaida, the people tried to crown him king. But he denied their attempt! But now, he was very much accepting of it. He willingly stepped into the perfect tense of prophecy, called for a donkey, and revealed himself as the Messiah that Zechariah had foretold. This wasn’t the day he would shuffle into Jerusalem in sandals. It was the day for the donkey—a lowly animal. He had reached his destiny. And he was “humbling himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

(Transition)  Here’s my objective in this message: From this point on, I want to investigate this word Hosanna that is repeatedly used at the first Palm Sunday recorded in Mathew 21. Hosanna is another example of Jesus fulfilling OT prophecy and demonstrating that he was our Messiah.

Hosanna! “Lord, Save Us, Now!”

Hosanna is one of those rich words that carries multiple meanings. Each of the Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—associate Christ’s appearance at Passover in Jerusalem amid shouts of Hosanna! I’ll read from Matthew 21:6—11.

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This Is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The first use of the word Hosanna! was not so much a praise as it was a plea for Christ to help them. That’s how Zachariah had written it. And this is probably the most important of its meanings. Hosanna! is not a quiet request. It’s a loud, earnest supplication that implores God’s help. It means, “Lord, rescue us! Lord, come and save. Lord help now!” 

Fortunately, this was the precise mission Christ was coming to accomplish. He was coming to rescue mankind from sin, and he would do right before their very eyes! The only problem was, the crowds didn’t quite know how Jesus would answer their supplication to save them. It wouldn’t be with a sword; it would be with nails and a cross. 

(Transition) The only thing the crowds knew for certain was that Jesus was indeed their Kingly deliverer! I mean, they really knew it! When I reread Matthew 21:9 you’ll understand this. And it’s here that the word Hosanna takes on its second significant meaning.

Hosanna as a Prophetic Fulfillment

“The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 21:9).

Here’s what the crowds were doing: they weren’t just shouting, “Hosanna!” They had conjoined the word Hosanna with the most familiar prophetic phrase of the OT attached to the Messiah. In full they were saying, “Hosanna, to the Son of David.” Everyone understood the meaning of the phrase, “Son of David.” The OT had thoroughly associated the coming Messiah to the lineage of David’s house.

I want you to notice how familiar this messianic designation was to the people of Christ’s day:

 In Matthew 15:22 a Canaanite woman cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

In Matthew 20:30, “Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

In Mark 10:47, Bartimaeaus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing his way, so he started shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Even from the initial stages of his ministry, “All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” (Matthew 12:23).

Now, the crowds of Jerusalem were doing the same and shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” They were publicly exclaiming that the OT prophecies were being fulfilled before their eyes, and they were saying, “This is the One! This is David’s Son! He’s the Messiah! And he’s come to deliver us.” (Praise God!)

(Transition)  Now for the third use of the word, Hosanna. This time it is  uttered as a jubilant praise to God.

Hosanna, “Lord, Bless You!”

You can’t read of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday without noticing the celebratory exclamations in it. I want to read it once more: 

“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Do you realize that Jesus could have entered Jerusalem on a donkey, but unless there were excessive shouts of adoration to accompany his entry, Zechariah’s prophecy would have failed, and Jesus would not have been the messiah. But they were! The crowds were placing palm branches onto Christ’s path and shouting with all their might, Hosanna!

And the shouts of Hosanna didn’t end on the roadside! Once Jesus arrived in Jerusalem he entered the Temple and turned over the tables of the moneychangers. Everyone knows he did this! But after flipping over the tables something else happened. Matthew 21:14 records it:

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “ ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

Can you imagine these kids swirling and twirling in the Temple courts? They were having a blast! And the Heavenly Father had purposely sent them there to do this! Typically, parents are trying to corral their kids in the House of God. But not this day! God the Father had commissioned them to run in circles and shout at the top of their voices, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” 

And notice that the kids were using the entire phrase. They weren’t just shouting “Hosanna!” they were shouting, Hosanna to the Son of David.” The Father wanted those obstinate Chief Priests and scribes, that were questioning Christ’s authority, to know that Jesus was the glorious fulfillment of OT prophecy!

I believe these kids were circling and shouting right before these pious dignitaries! The kids were giving them an earful! (To me this is one of the most hilarious scenes in the NT!) Finally, with the Priests seething, they demanded that Jesus silence these little fellas. But I love Christ’s response: “Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” (Matthew 21:16). And I especially love the way the Berean Study Bible translates it: “From the mouths of children and infants You have ordained praise.” Again, the Heavenly Father had ordained this to happen!

(Transition) Then there is a a fourth way Hosanna is used. It is used as an Endtime declaration.

Hosanna, You’re Back, Lord Jesus!”

Here is what Jesus said on Tuesday of Holy Week as he cleansed the Temple. Matthew 23:37—39 says:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38  Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39  For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

In summary, this is what Jesus was saying to the Jews: Today, you are rejecting me as your King and Deliverer. But when I return to this city of Jerusalem, you will have accepted my sacrifice for sin and will be shouting out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

In other words, the Jews will be Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and King before his Second Coming!


On the first day—Palm Sunday—it starts with adoration. But by the sixth day of this week it had turned into condemnation when he died upon the Cross. But it’s this condemnation that brought us salvation. And one day, in Heaven, it will result in our glorification!