Today is Palm Sunday. Today we waive our Palms and march into the sanctuary. Today was sing “Hosanna.”
Hosanna is an ancient Hebrew expression. It may surprise you to hear that it does not mean “praise the Lord” or “glory to God.” No, it is not a cry of exhalation. Rather, it is a plea for deliverance. Hosanna means “save us!”
As the crowds lined the streets and welcomed Jesus into their city, they praised him and cheered for him. But above all, they beseeched him. They asked him to deliver them. “Save us, we sing to the Son of David. Save us, you who are in the highest heaven. Save your people, you who come in the name of the Lord.”
The people of Jerusalem were begging to be set free. They wanted to be delivered from Rome, from roman taxes and roman rulers. They wanted their Temple cleansed of pagan images and unholy sacrifices. They wanted their culture saved from corrupting influences. They wanted God to rescue them from the sins of others.
At the end of the parade, they saw no rescue. Jesus of Nazareth did not assault the Roman garrison. He did not remove the corrupt priests. He did not return the nation to Jewish authority. He did not set himself up as their King.
Their expectations were violated. And so their cries of “Hosanna” will turn to cries of “Crucify him.” They will raise their voices again, on Good Friday, and they will demand his death.
Expectations are dangerous things.