John 12:12–16 12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
Palm Sunday is the Sunday preceding Easter and is an opportunity to remember the events associated with the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
During the last week of the earthly life of Jesus, He prepares to enter Jerusalem, where many Jews are gathering to celebrate the Passover. The popularity of Jesus is growing as He teaches and performs many miracles among the people. Jesus bringing Lazarus from the dead just a few days earlier catapults the popularity of Jesus to new heights. The people think Jesus is the great Deliverer for whom they have been waiting.
To fulfill an Old Testament prophecy, Jesus sends a couple of disciples to Jerusalem to prepare a donkey for Him to ride into Jerusalem. They put their cloaks on the donkey for Jesus to sit on. The Jewish worshipers in Jerusalem cut palm branches and place them on the road to honor the arrival of Jesus. Those gathering along the roadway begin to cheer and call out, “Hosanna!” (meaning “The Lord saves!”). Shockingly, these are the same people who all call for His crucifixion in just a few days.
For Jesus to save according to the eternal plan of redemption, He must offer Himself as an atoning sacrifice for sin on the cross. No one took His life from Him. He laid it down willingly. Following His death, He is placed in a tomb for three days, and then He is resurrected to life and victory. After appearing to more than five hundred people in His resurrection body, He ascends to the heavens and is seated in authority and victory at the right hand of His Father.
Following the glorious ascension of their Lord and Savior, His disciples recall the event that took place on the Sunday before His crucifixion, where the people gathered with palm branches in hand and with voices lifted in praise shouting “Hosanna!” The hearts of these thankful followers of Jesus can now rejoice that in God’s redemptive grace. God has provided His Son as the Savior. The offering of Jesus, and the victory of Jesus, provide salvation from the penalty of sin and the power of sin.
As the message of salvation goes out under the authority of Jesus to regather the nations, “Hosanna!” is a declaration of victory and hope. Those who repent of their sins, trusting in the work of Jesus alone, experience salvation, salvation from the penalty of sin, and the power of sin. As the redeemed of the Lord, we can confidently shout, “Hosanna!” because our Lord, King Jesus, saves!