John 12:13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Ever hear someone say “Gesundheit” in response to a sneeze? It’s a German word meaning health or soundness. It is such an oddity of our culture that so many people who speak no other German understand and use this word. The same sort of thing happens around church on Palm Sunday. We sing and recite the Hosanna of the above verse as if we are fluent in first century Hebrew (or is it Aramaic?). It just seems like the proper response to Palm Sunday like Gesundheit is to a sneeze. Just as the use of Gesundheit started as a wish that the sneezer would have better health, so the Hosanna of Palm Sunday meant something important to the folks who first used it. It literally means “Save Now” and those folks had plenty from which they needed saving. The Romans were occupying their country. The religious leaders were manipulating their lives. Disease and illness were commonplace. They actually thought, or at least hoped that Jesus could and would do something about these things. A lot of them were disappointed when all he did was die. That wasn’t the type of saving they had in mind. Do you need saving? What type of saving are you looking for this week?