Hosanna in the Highest!
“Day of Atonement”
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Matthew 21:7-9 (AMP)
and they brought the donkey and the colt, and placed their coats on them; and Jesus sat on the coats. 8 Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road [as before a king], while others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of Him, and those that followed Him, were shouting [in praise and adoration],
“Hosanna to the Son of David (Messiah);
Blessed [praised, glorified] is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest [Heaven]!”
I struggled at first with which direction to take the blog post for today, being the day we celebrate Palm Sunday. I initially thought of how the owner of the donkey and colt had to be willing to allow his property to be used of the Lord. Then, I began studying (and nearly wrote about) the “puzzle” of verse 7, where Jesus asked for and received both the donkey and its colt. As the Lord leads, I may still write about those topics at some point.
However, the Lord put my focus on verses 8 and 9. In verse 8, we see the crowd in front of Jesus spreading their outer garments or laying down palm leaves on the road before Him. Here is what the Adam Clarke Commentary has to say in reference to this action by the crowd:
Thus acknowledging him to be their king, for this was a custom observed by the people when they found that God had appointed a man to the kingdom. When Jehu sat with the captains of the army, and Elisha the prophet came, by the order of God, to anoint him king over Israel, as soon as he came out of the inner chamber into which the prophet had taken him to anoint him, and they knew what was done, every man took his garment, and spread it under him on the top of the steps, and blew the trumpets, saying, “Jehu is king.” 2 Kings 9:13. [a]
In verse 9, we read of the proclamation being made by the crowd. As the Website GotQuestions.org explains,
By saying “hosanna” as Jesus passed through the gates of Jerusalem and referring to David and David’s kingdom, the Jews were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah. The Jews had been waiting a long time for the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17:11–14; 2 Chronicles 6:16), and their shouts of “hosanna in the highest” indicated the hope that their Messiah had finally come to set up God’s kingdom then and there (see Luke 19:11).
By saying “in the highest,” the crowd was invoking heaven’s blessing on them and the salvation that the Messiah was bringing. The phrase also echoes the song of the angels in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest” (ESV). To paraphrase the shouts of the crowd: “Save us, our Messiah, who comes to fulfill God’s mission! Save us, we beseech you, as you take your rightful throne and extend heaven’s salvation to us!” [b]
As referenced above, the actions and words of the crowd were expressions of recognition and declaration of Jesus as the promised Messiah and coming King. However, Jesus’ prior words in Matthew 15:8 (GW), when He quoted a passage of Scripture found in Isaiah 29:13, could be applied to this ceremony, as well:
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
As the Website GotQuestions.org continues,
Sadly, the salvation that the people of Jerusalem wanted that day was political, not spiritual. They were only interested in a temporary, worldly fulfillment of the messianic prophecies. They chose not to see the prophecies that said the Messiah would be “a man of sorrows” who would bear the griefs of His people and be crushed for their sins. His oppression and death were clearly predicted in Isaiah 53. Yes, Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for, and He accepted their shouts of “hosanna in the highest.” He was truly Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14). But the political conquest and final fulfillment of the David Covenant must await the second coming (Acts 1:11; Zechariah 14:4; Matthew 24:30; Titus 2:13). Before Jesus could take care of the political problems of His people, He had to take care of the sin problem.
As the people shouted “hosanna in the highest,” little did they know what that would actually mean…. Their cries for salvation and their demand that it come “now” were answered with the cross. God provided a spiritual salvation from the bondage of sin, bought at great cost to the Lord Jesus. But the blessed results of that salvation extend into eternity and far outweigh any temporary benefits we could experience in this world. [b]
As we celebrate this Palm Sunday, are your hails of “Hosanna in the Highest!” laced with desires and expectations for selfish ambition or gain? Or are you declaring Jesus to be THE KING of your life? Rather than laying down your physical outer garments or palm leaves, lay down the walls of your heart to allow the Lord FULL access! Allow Him to use you for HIS honor and HIS glory. Your reward will come in Heaven… which (according to another article from the Website GotQuestions.org, citing Revelation 4:10) will most likely also be humbly laid at Christ’s feet. [c]