Pastor Mike preached an excellent sermon last week, for those who missed it. One of things that struck me was the use of “hosanna” and its meaning. I had heard of that previously but I was struck by a thought. Again, my thought was nothing new. A.W. Tozer and C.S. Lewis said as much. Nevertheless, here is the thought.
As Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt, the people of the city were shouting his praises and pleading for Him to save them. Hosanna! Save us! Hosanna! Rescue us!
But save them from what? Roman overlordship? Corruption in the Temple and the priesthood? Taxation?
Perhaps the people wanted a king like David or Solomon to restore Judea to its former power and glory. Maybe they wanted the Kingdom of Heaven where all men are equal and none labor under masters cruel or indifferent. Some may have desired freedom from slavery or service.
It is possible a few were crying out for freedom from sin but only a few. In a just days, Jesus would be wrongfully convicted in a set up contrived by the priests, scribes and Pharisees to ensure a Roman response. Jesus would walk the road to Calvary to jeers instead of cheers. Whatever problem which inspired the crowds to lift shouts of Hosanna to Jesus as He entered the town, Jesus evidently did not “perform” as they expected. The price Christ paid for failing the mob was His very life…and by His death, salvation became a possibility for the very crowds who had mocked Him and for the rest of the world as well.
Which brings us to my point.
When we cry to Jesus to save us, what do we really want Him to do? Bless us with necessary financial resources? Solve our relationship problems? Lead us into joy? Maybe we cheer Jesus in hopes that He will resolve with mercy a legal problem or one of addiction. Perhaps a loved one is very ill and our hope is that Jesus will intercede and heal them.
None of those things are bad desires. Jesus knows our hearts and what we need yet He wants us to bring our needs, hopes, and fears before Him.
But unless we seek salvation…rescue…from our sins and our sinful nature, the rest is just slapping a Band-Aid over a much more important issue. Unless our hosannas are a plea for forgiveness and grace, then any response God makes to our empty prayers is just a temporary fix.
God does not want to slap patches on our lives. Neither does God want part of our lives. We can’t just invite Him in and expect Christ to stay away from the sins we ”like” or “enjoy.” Jesus loves us too much to let us languish in sin once we open our hearts to Him. He won’t clean out one or two closets and call it a day. Jesus wants to clean out all of the closets, the attic, the storage shed, under the bed, behind the washing machine, and the ductwork! And that is something we desperately need…to be cleaned in a way that only the cleansing blood of Christ can do.
Easter is upon us. Palm Sunday is past and the shouted hosannas are just a memory. Yet soon the grave will be empty. The kingdom of Heaven shall be revealed and the magnificent grace of God’s plan shall be laid bare for those who seek Him.
On Sunday, shout Hosanna. After all, hosanna is not just for Palm Sunday! But as you shout it, remember you are crying for rescue. Make the rescue worth the price that was paid. Cry out for saving from more that the aggravations great and small of life. Cry out for the cleansing light of Christ to burn away the darkness in our lives! Save us not from trial or fear but from sin and all other things shall come to pass.
Save us! Hosanna! Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!