“HOSANNA!”—An Easter Season Message
© 2018 By Philip A Matthews
Matthew 21:8 AndG1161 a very greatG4118 multitudeG3793 spreadG4766 theirG1438 garmentsG2440 inG1722 theG3588 way;G3598 (G1161) othersG243 cut downG2875 branchesG2798 fromG575 theG3588 trees,G1186 andG2532 strawedG4766 them inG1722 theG3588 way.G3598
Matthew 21:9 AndG1161 theG3588 multitudesG3793 that went before,G4254 andG2532 that followed,G190 cried,G2896 saying,G3004 HosannaG5614 to theG3588 SonG5207 of David:G1138 BlessedG2127 is he that comethG2064 inG1722 the nameG3686 of the Lord;G2962 HosannaG5614 inG1722 theG3588 highest.G5310
Psalm 118:25 SaveH3467 now,H4994 I beseechH577 thee, O LORD:H3068 O LORD,H3068 I beseechH577 thee, send nowH4994 prosperity.H6743 26 BlessedH1288 be he that comethH935 in the nameH8034 of the LORD:H3068 we have blessedH1288 you out of the houseH4480 H1004 of the LORD.H3068
- H3467 = YASHA (yaw-shah). A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: - X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.
- G5614 = ho-san-nah'. Of Hebrew origin [H3467] and [H4994]; oh save!; hosanna (that is, hoshia-na), an exclamation of adoration: - hosanna.
I included the King James Version, annotated with the reference numbers from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, so that those who don’t study the Bible very often can get an idea of a way to do word studies. First of all, be aware that the people crying “Hosanna” to Jesus were actually quoting Old Testament Scripture, Psalms 118:25. Notice the Strong’s numbers next to “Save now.” The Hebrew word was YASHA [H3467], meaning to “Open wide or free, make safe, rescue, bring salvation to, and thereby save.”
Then, when we go to the New Testament story, which is written in Greek, we see that the Greek word, “hosanna,” is taken directly from that Hebrew word in Psalms, “YASHA,” with the same meaning, “to open up and free and save.” So whether it’s Old or New Testament, Hebrew or Greek, “YASHA” and “HOSANNA” mean about the same.
Commentator John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains this very well: “By calling Jesus the Son of David, they owned and proclaimed him to be the Messiah; this being the usual title by which the Messiah was known among the Jews… By crying and saying ‘Hosanna’ to him, which was done with loud acclamations, and the united shouts of both companies, before and behind, they ascribe all praise, honor, glory, and blessing to him, and wish him all prosperity, happiness, and safety. The word is an Hebrew word, and is compounded of נא, and הושיעה, which signifies, “Save I beseech;” and which words stand in Psalm 118:25 to which the multitude had reference, as appears from what follows; and are formed into one word, הושענא, “Hosana”, or “Hosanna”, in which form it frequently appears in the Jewish writings; and because of the often use of it at the feast of tabernacles, that feast was called “Hosanna”, and the seventh day of it was called רבה הושענא, “The Great Hosanna.”
The Meaning for Us Today
Our natural spiritual disconnection from God forces us into living life under the power of our physical/animal self, obsessively driven by fear. We claim to be free, but we are extremely constrained and constricted. Our behavior is pre-programmed. We are extremely bound and cramped, forced by fear to behave selfishly and sinfully, as the Apostle Paul accurately states what Jesus did on the cross in Hebrews 2:15 (Easy-To-Read Version)—"Jesus became like these people and died so that he could free them. They were like slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.” We live extremely limited in our behavior, and it is very rare to find a person who is not basically self-centered and making life moves based on “What ifs,” self-survival, and self-interests. Human beings are bound to act selfishly.
This idea of “giving us liberty and freedom by opening up some space” is an interesting concept because the Hebrew word for “Savior” (Yeshua or Joshua, or “Jesus” in Greek) is based on this Hebrew word, “YASHA,” which means “to open wide, to free, to make safe and secure, as opposed to being cramped; therefore, to save.” Thus…
YASHA (open up/free/save) ==> YESHUA (Savior)
SO THIS IS THE PALM SUNDAY/ EASTER SUNDAY THEME AND DECLARATION: THIS IS THE DAY OF FREEDOM FROM POWERS, HABITS, FEARS, AND WHATEVER YOU ARE DRIVEN BY AND LIMITED BY.
HERE'S HOW TO FIND FREEDOM:
STEP1: CIRCLE THE ISSUES YOU HAVE FROM THE LISTS BELOW & SEEK HEALING AND DELIVERANCE. Confessing our faults, failures, weaknesses is the first step towards healing, as in James 5:16, “Confess your faults that you may be healed...”
Almost every negative thing we feel is merely a form of FEAR: insecurity, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness & insignificance, lost identity, purposelessness, worry, anxiety, unprotected-ness, aloneness, permanent anger, pride, hatred, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, envy, unforgiveness, unthankfulness, cynicism, dissatisfaction, lack of peace, blaming God, being driven by what others think, craving approval & acceptance, hiding/facades/putting up fronts, lying, impatience, perfectionism, timidity, depression, feelings of abandonment, contentiousness, and dozens more. “FEAR HAS TORMENT / PAIN / PUNISHMENT” (1 John 4:18). Fear LIMITS US to avoid the PAIN. SO WE ARE NOT FREE AS LONG AS WE FEAR. WE ARE DRIVEN. “HOSANNA” MEANS “FREE US!”
Almost every human action is a response & adaptation to cope with this fear and substitute something for the LOVE we are missing from God: Selfishness; Obsession with survival ('self-preservation is the first law of nature'); Addictions of any kind (substances, pornography, sexual impurity, romantic encounters, shopping, gambling); Oversensitivity (to stay on the alert for any real or imagined threats); Hoarding of anything gained (power, money, fame, opportunities, or anything considered valuable, to build a hedge of protection and security around oneself); All the forms of aggressiveness and fighting (to scare others off, to keep them from taking advantage of you, to get revenge, to teach them a lesson, etc.); Drinking, drugging, sexual carousing, and pleasure-seeking (to anesthetize oneself to the fear and pain of living separated from God by altering one's perception of reality); The obsession with seeking significance, fame, attention, immortality through great building projects, educational attainments, etc.; Constant preoccupation w/external appearance; Busyness / Workaholic-ism; being a control freak; Aloofness (w/holding emotions from others, even family, to avoid getting hurt again); etc. These are the fears that drive and limit EVERYBODY.
STEP2: ASK GOD ”WHY” YOU BEHAVE/FEEL/THINK LIKE THIS—AND HE WILL SPEAK TO YOU AND REVEAL TO YOU WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE AND FEARS BEHIND YOUR ACTIONS, FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, AND WORDS.
We all have reasons for acting the way we act, even if we don’t know what those reasons are. Human behavior is caused, not senseless and reasonless. We must confess that we have a problem, then seek God’s revelation for WHY we have the problem. As He reveals the deep stuff hidden in our beings, we will recognize them as forms of fear based on various deeply-rooted lies and untruths. And lies and untruths disturb our lives and never bring peace.
So if you circled “Addiction” above, now ask God WHY you have such an addictive personality. If you circled “Unforgiveness,” ask God WHY you cannot forgive and just keep holding on to your bitterness. If you admit to being a control freak, ask God WHY you are driven to act that way. He will be glad to tell you, because He wants to free you. That’s why He came, He died, and He rose again—so you could truly experience freedom and newness of life.
Perhaps He will say that you grew up in chaos, so you resolved never to allow yourself to be in an out-of-control situation again. “I gotta take care of myself because no one else will.” Or maybe He will reveal to you that, because you never really believed you were good enough to deserve your father’s love, you have spent the last half of your life driven to gain his acceptance by cheating, scheming, and killing yourself (and your family) to get rich—so “I can finally prove myself to Daddy.” Or He might tell you that you can’t forgive because you are afraid that the perpetrator will get away with injustice if you just let it go.
STEP3: ASK GOD ”WHAT DO YOU THINK OR SAY ABOUT THIS MATTER, FATHER?” AND HE WILL SPEAK THE TRUTH TO YOUR SITUATION.
And when you know the Truth, that “Truth shall make you free” (John 8:32, 36). Yes, perhaps you did suffer a damaging wound or a grievous loss. But that does not mean God doesn’t love you or God didn’t care or He negligently let it happen. These are the lies we believe that cause our lives to be forever changed by our wounds. Perhaps you grew up in chaos and dysfunction, and the lies you picked up from that background have caused you to be a worrier, a control freak, and a person who can’t trust anybody else. The Truth is that God actually was there when it all happened and He was still in control—but you need HIM to speak this Truth to you. You need to hear HIS voice, and when you do, you will be HEALED in that area of your life. The Truth will counteract the lies and set you free forever.
In the example above where you can’t forgive, He might reveal this allegory: Your brother owes you $10,000, and you just can’t let him go, even though you can see he’ll probably never pay you back. Then, today, you win the $400 million Powerball! Now that you realize how rich you are, you can afford to call up your brother and tell him, “Hey, man, just forget it! You don’t owe me nothin’!” And the truth is, God has given and forgiven us so much, it no longer makes sense to hold anybody for anything they might “owe” us. We have won the "Spiritual Powerball!" No matter what, we CAN'T LOSE! So let all your debtors go free—and free yourself!
This is how Yeshua “SAVES” us.
The religion of Jesus Christ is the world’s ONLY religion that changes people from the inside out. It is the ONLY religion that actually SAVES, that eliminates the all-pervasive FEAR that afflicts every spiritually disconnected soul in the world. It is the ONLY one that brings liberty. He came to bring “liberty and the OPENING of prison to those who are bruised, crushed, and taken captive by the bad behaviors they have been programmed to do…” (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18 paraphrased). It enables a person to forgive, rise above bitterness, revenge, etc. Look at the depressing lists above again: Trusting in Jesus Christ can eliminate them ALL!
Do ALL people claiming to believe in Jesus Christ experience this kind of victory over FEAR? No, in fact, not many. But that doesn’t negate the fact that this is what He came to bring, this is what the Bible teaches, and this is what many of His followers really DO experience. It does not happen just because a person makes a claim that he or she is a “believer.” It requires a continual surrender and submission to the will of God in EVERY circumstance. Whenever a person fails to submit their will to God’s, FEAR will keep its power over them, and they will continue to act and react out of FEAR, not PERFECT LOVE.
May God bless us all during our Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday celebrations. We truly have lots to celebrate!