“Hosanna!” It reminds me of “Huzzah” — a sort of King Arthur-ish way of expressing joy, victory, applause. In other words, “Yay!” Or, in Aggieland parlance, “Whooop!” (Extra “o” is intentional.)
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the crowds shouted “Hosanna!” But they were not cheering. They were not happy campers at all. The Hebrew expression “Hosanna” was actually a call for help. It means, “Save!” The first-century Jews had heard of Jesus’ miraculous power. They hoped that he would be the one to throw off the tyrannical Roman government and bring justice to Israel.
Little did they realize that Jesus had come to the city for the express purpose of dying. As he spoke with some curious Gentiles, Jesus predicted his own death. He explained that it was necessary [albeit temporary], but of course he dreaded it. The physical suffering would be horrible. Even worse, the completely foreign experience of guilt — not his own, because he had none, but he would take on everyone’s guilt. Mine. Yours.
And so he prayed. As he himself pointed out, he had a choice of what he would pray. “Now my heart is troubled,” he admitted, “and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No. It was for this very reason I came to this hour.” And then he chose to pray: “Father, glorify your name!”
Jesus had every right to pray, “Father, save me!” But if he had said, “Hosanna!”, the people’s “Hosanna” would have forever gone unanswered. He put their desperate need for help — our desperate need for help — before his own well-being. He was no victim; Rome and the Pharisees combined had no power over him. He voluntarily walked into their trap, even sending Judas out to betray him.
He died, at their hands but by an act of his own free will. He rose again on the third day, just as he predicted, fulfilling prophecy and breaking the power of death for anyone who will trust Him.
I am eternally thankful for the prayer Jesus didn’t pray. And in view of that, how could I not trust him?
Thanks for reading,
PS: Quotes are from the Gospel of John, chapter 12. Jesus’ words to Judas are in chapter 13, and John’s account of Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion and resurrection are in chapters 18-20.
PPS: I have been studying through the Gospel of John for some weeks. This one prayer vignette has made such an impression on me that I feel like I simply must post it.
PPPS: This morning, I am linking up for coffee with the sweet ladies of Company Girls. Come see Rachel’s latest project, and visit with my other friends.