40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 27

Mark 11:9  “As Jesus approached Jerusalem, those who went before Him, and those who followed after Him, were crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest.'”

The word hosanna intrigues me.

HosannaGrowing up, I assumed (in the absence of any explanation), that hosanna was a variation of the somewhat similar word hallelujah. Okay, at least they both start with an “h” (in English). But hosanna is different. Hallelujah declares “praise the Lord” while hosanna cries out “Save me!”

It must have irked the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem as Jesus approached the city. Those religious and civic leaders had worked hard to cultivate a tolerable co-existence with the Roman occupiers. They had established a fragile and vulnerable peace, at best. This was certainly no time for an uneducated (albeit popular) peasant teacher from Galilee to ride into the city openly declaring a revolution. The crowds crying Hosanna, if correctly understood by the Romans, could ruin everything.

The palm branches and the adulation was akin to saying, “At last! The King is here! Let’s do this!!” No wonder, then, that the trajectory of Jesus’ ministry took a turn at this point.

Periodically, I think of that crowd. Desperate for deliverance, disillusioned by their dire circumstances, they sought a different destiny. I’ve had times like that, too; a mind racing to dark places, a heart stressed by events, circumstances that seem insurmountable. We’ve all been there. And for those moments — for people like us — hosanna says it all.

In those moments when the pain threatens to overwhelm us — hosanna.

In those times when fear looms large — hosanna.

In those circumstances when we feel most helpless — hosanna.

When words won’t come and prayer seems almost impossible — hosanna.

“Hosanna in the highest,” the crowd cried. They declared that salvation, true salvation, comes from God alone. I’m not smart enough, strong enough, educated enough, or resourced enough to save myself. “Hosanna in the highest.”

Today, perhaps this breath prayer is for yourself: “Hosanna! Save me!” Or perhaps we could pray it for those we know who feel buried by suffering or who face a daunting mountain. “Hosanna. God. Save.”

It’s an ancient cry and Christ never tires of hearing it.

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10 Responses to 40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 27

  1. Elaine says:

    Thank you for this 40 day blog. I needed to read what you wrote this morning. I can’t save myself from disappointments, but God can. Hosanna in the highest. Amen

    • David Timms says:

      Elaine, He is the one who saves. I’m praying for you as I post this, and trusting Him to do for you what none of us can truly do for ourselves. Grace and peace.

  2. Mitch Harrison says:

    BTW, this post today was very timely. Nan and I prayed yesterday, “God save us from this. And if not, then see us through this.”


    Mitch Harrison, Executive Pastor

    Canyon Ridge Christian Church
    canyonridge.org | 702.658.2722 x217
    c. 702.236.9111 | t. @1mitchharrison

  3. Scott says:

    You always get me thinking brotha. I think the contrast in the world is striking David. Last night I watched American Idol. A guy by the name of Qaasim got voted off the show, but the judges have one save they can employ. Hosanna, they can save you, only it’s not Hosanna in the highest because to get saved and to be able to remain on the show you have to earn it. Qaasim did an amazing rendition of the Beatles tune “Come Together.” He did it so well that the judges were forced to save him. In essence he saved himself. Hosanna in the lowest. Saved for another week. Thank God we have Hosanna in the highest, don’t have to earn it, cannot earn it, but we have it for eternity.

  4. Phyllis Heglund says:

    Thanks so much for this lent series on Mark. It is helping me focus during this time and I am always blessed and challenged by what you say.

  5. heide costa says:

    Amen ~ hosanna. Thank you David, again. Bless you 😊

  6. Amy says:

    Hosanna! Come, Lord Jesus ❤

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