Pastor’s ponderings

“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”

            It is that time of year in which we hear these words boldly proclaimed by Jesus’ disciples.  We are most familiar with them as the shouts of the people as Jesus entered the gates of Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover, the day we celebrate as Palm Sunday.  As they waved palm branches and spread their cloaks on the ground before him, the entire community could hear their shouts of “Hosanna!” and “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”  And, this Sunday, I am certain that many of us are prepared to do the same.  However, before we do so, we must understand what they truly mean, then and now.

            “Hosanna” is a Hebrew word that means “O save now!”  It is a cry unto the lord for salvation, for rescue from a perilous situation.  If we looked it up in the Bible, we would find it contained in Psalm 118:25, where in today’s English it is written as “Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!  O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!” (NRSV).  So, shouting Hosanna, at that time, was not a shout of joy, but actually a cry of desperation, an acknowledgement of our need for rescue.

            The phrase we listed above, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” is found in Psalm 118:26, immediately following the cries of Hosanna.  This was a traditional proclamation given to a king as they returned victorious from battle.  It was a confirmation of their divine rule and subsequent victory given by the sovereign God.  It was acknowledgment of their status and the rescue they had provided for the people.

            So, ponder what that means for you this Palm Sunday.  What does it mean to cry unto Jesus, “Save us!” and “Be my victorious king today!”  As we prepare to sing and shout “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” during our worship on Sunday, what will it mean for you and your relationship with Jesus?  Is it just a time of annual festive celebration, or is there something so much more to it?

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                                Pastor Steve

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