Monday, March 18, 2013

Hosanna, God Save Us!


Mark 11:8-10 (NKJV)
8  And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9  Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' 10  Blessed is the kingdom of our father David That comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
John 12:12-13 (NKJV)
12  The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13  took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' The King of Israel!"

The Word Hosanna, ὡσαννά, Save now; or save, we pray; is an emphatic exclamation of praise to God. In the week prior to His resurrection Jesus rode on a colt, the foal of a donkey into Jerusalem where the people of the city had spread leafy branches and palms on the road before Him. There are many things we can look to for a better understanding of this celebratory moment. Here are a few:

Celebration of Victory
Such a welcome was usually reserved for kings who had just returned from battle When the victory was complete the Palms were cast forth in adoration and praise. But in this story of Christ’s Triumphant Entry to Jerusalem, the celebration is wont of military victory. Instead it would be the cross and the subsequent resurrection that would bring true victory. 

Many scholars believe the triumphal entry was a foreshadowing of the soon victory of Messiah yet to occur.  This led the people to apply the Psalms of Ascents (Ps. 118:25-26) which was sung as a welcome to pilgrims coming up to Jerusalem to worship at Passover, Pentecost or Shavuot, and the Feast of tabernacles or Sukkot. In this sense the people were exclaiming their desire for the Messiah to be their deliverer and King.

Future Celebration of Victory over Evil
In Rev. 7:9-15 the future tribulation saints are seen as being dressed in white linen and holding palms. John saw this event in the following way:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen." Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?" And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
(Rev 7:9-14)

In the passage John is shown a future event that is in a past tense setting. The event was future to John but the victory the saints had been crowned with was past tense to them. They had overcome the evil one during the Great Tribulation and were now standing in victory because of the blood of the Lamb.

We also see a similar victory of the saints in Revelation 4:10. Here the saints of God, pictured as twenty-four elders, are casting their crowns at the feet of the Lord as they worship. The scene depicts the saved of all ages having received crowns for service and casting them at the foot of the throne of God in humility and joyous praise. There is nothing a saint can receive unless it comes from the Lord. The scene typifies God working in and through us and our recognition that we could do nothing without Him.

Victorinus , a 3rd century theologian, stated it the following way:

That is, on account of the eminent glory of Christ’s victory, they (24 elders) cast all their victories under His feet. This is what in the Gospel the Holy Spirit consummated by showing, for when about finally to suffer, our Lord had come to Jerusalem, and the people had gone forth to meet Him, some strewed the road with palm branches cut down, others threw down their garments, doubtless these were setting forth two peoples - the one of the patriarchs, the other of the prophets; that is to say, of the great men who had any kind of palms of their victories against sin, and cast them under the feet of Christ, the victor of all. And the palm and the crown signify the same things, and these are not given save to the victor.

Jesus is the victor over sin and death—He alone is worthy of our worship!

Coronation of a King
Another side of the story of Palm Sunday can be found in 2 Kings 9:13 where Jehu is celebrated as the new King of Israel. His servants start the celebratory moment through laying a blanket on the steps before him over which he would soon pass. Elisha the prophet, God’s spokesman, had made the announcement under the authority of God’s Word, 1 Kings 9:6.

Other Scenes from John 12
We are told Jesus comes into the city on the colt of a Donkey. What a contrast this is in juxtaposition to all that the kings of the world would desire. Why not a strong horse? Why a colt? In the first advent or coming of Christ, the Lord would appear, not as the conquering King, but as Isaiah’s suffering servant of peace. But the people for the most part were blind to this. When the prophets spoke of the Messiah or deliverer in the Old Testament or Tanakh, they often did so in terms of a Messianic warrior who would destroy all kingdoms and elevate Israel to the place of honor over all nations. This was the preferred view to look for in their Messiah. But in doing so they often overlooked that He would first as the final sacrifice to save the people from their sin. To do so would mean suffering and death. Isaiah tells us of both. In Is. 9:6-7 He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. There will be no end to His rule. But in Isaiah 53 we see a different picture. There we see:

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
(Is. 53:3-6)

So at the end of the day, Christ did not come on a shining strong white horse because the King had two victories to win. The first He had to win was the victory over sin and death. He would be the Passover Lamb, 1 Cor. 5:7, the One to be sacrificed and substituted for our sin. This victory did not require a shining white horse that pictured conquering strength and victory but rather a small donkey picturing humility and burden. The Scripture is clear; we are called to cast all of our cares upon Him because He cares for us, 1 Pet. 5:7. That is why He came.

Still the crowds looked for the Conquering King to deliver them from the oppressive rule of the Romans. When that did not occur for the most part He was abandoned. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will scatter, Zech. 13:7; Mark 14:27.

But all is not lost, Praise to God!!! His first victory was necessary to bring forth His final victory and the fulfillment of Is. 9:6-7 and many other passages. Rev. 19 gives us a glimpse of what the people desired to see on that first Palm Sunday.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-16)

That is the Jesus the first century believers wanted to see. Zech. 14:4-5 also gives us a glimpse of the King who will return to earth to conquer to the same place from which He ascended to heaven, the Mt. of Olives.

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You. (Zech. 14:4-5)

What a glorious day that will be. The invitation to ride that horse in battle array with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is still open. God is still calling us to lay down our Palm branches and to crown Him Lord of all.

Do not delay any longer. Time is running out. God will soon be calling us to glory. Do not be left behind! Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. (Isa 55:6)

Ezekiel also saw that future day when the Lord would be seated on the throne for eternity. When the victory was won and the Millennial Temple was prepared for God’s Holy Habitation; for you and I He was given the following vision of the Lord:

Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east.
And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.
It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw--like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.
And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east.
The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. Ezekiel 43:1-5 (NKJV)

Won’t you seek Him for eternal life today? All you need to do is believe that He died and arose again for your sin. Then call out to Him in prayer, confessing your sin that He may forgive you with the intent on serving Him from now on. Then join a church and be baptized; dedicate your life to Him forever. The miracle of a changed heart will ensue and you will know why other Christians love Jesus. Please let me know if you prayed to receive Jesus, John 1:12,  and if you would like more personal instruction.

Jesus loves you, don’t forget it.
God Bless

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