Hosanna is an exclamation often used to praise God. It is recognised as a shout of adoration; an acclamation and an expression of joy. For example, in the New Testament, a shout of hosanna was raised by the people of Jerusalem for Jesus Christ on his triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem. (full story – Matthew 21:9,15; Mark 11:9-10; John 12:13).
**Quick backstory: At this point, Jesus had predicted his death twice and he was heading into Jerusalem however, before entering the city; he sent two of his disciples ahead of him as they arrived at a town called Bethphage. He sent them into the village to grab a donkey with its colt and this was to fulfil the prophecy that said ‘tell the people of Jerusalem, look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey – riding on a donkey’s colt’ and this was exactly what took place. As they (the peoples) saw him, the crowd was elated, and some spread their garments on the road ahead of him and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Making Jesus the centre of the procession, they shouted ‘praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:9,15). **
Originally the word hosanna was used to appeal to God for deliverance. Found in Psalms 118:26-26; the psalmist appealed to God asking Him to bring about salvation…
“… Lord save us! Lord, please grant us success! He who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed. From the house of the Lord we bless you” – Psalm 118:25-26
The interesting thing about the word ‘hosanna’ being used in the context above (Matthew 21:9;15) is the fact that when they cried out hosanna, it refers to the same transliteration of the Hebrew term ‘hôsî-âh-nā’ which actually means ‘Oh save now” or “please save! (Psalm 118:25-26). However, psalm 118:26 hints at why the meaning of “hosanna” changed. The verse begins, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” The Psalmist knew God would answer his and Israel’s cry for help. John Piper wrote that, because of this shift from begging for help to recognizing God would send help, the word hosanna came to mean, “Hooray for salvation! It’s coming! It’s here! Salvation! Salvation!” It was a personal, joy-filled exclamation of confidence in God and praise for His provision.
Their shout of praise stemmed from a place of adoration and acclamation in recognition of Jesus Christ as Saviour, the Messiah (the answer to the Isrea;’s cry for help). The –na suffix in Hebrew is expressing an intense emotion. (hōsanná) comes from two Hebrew roots meaning, “Save now!” (= “Save I pray!”).
**Sidebar: I particularly love Psalm 118 verse 22 which says “… the stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all.” **
**Quick backstory – The Jews were waiting for the promised Messiah, but they had a skewed expectation of what that would look like. Therefore, when Jesus came as the Messiah; they struggled to believe in Hum. They awaited a mighty deliverer who could free them from Rome’s control. They didn’t understand their own prophetic teachings that Messiah, Israel’s hope, would first come as a suffering servant before He would come as a conquering King. The Jews didn’t understand how their Old Testament Scriptures pointed to Jesus as a Saviour, Prophet, Priest and King. **
Hosanna” Depicts Two Places of Spiritual Well-Being: As you can tell, there are two completely different uses for “hosanna.” One use is pleading for help, while the other is just showing gratitude for what was done. They perfectly represent two places of spiritual well-being we all find ourselves in. I want to emphasize that these are two separate places. One is not better than the other and one is not a level to reach the other. They are just two places that we often find ourselves. We are either crying out to God for help, or we are thanking God for what has been done for us. We are in a better position, as a result. (extract from BibeStudyTools).
No matter which side of the spectrum you are on, we can approach God through prayer or worship the same. When we are at that place of feeling like we are failing or like we can’t go on, we can plead with God, “Please, hear me! Please, talk to me. Please, show me something new.” This is the original use of “hosanna.” (extract from BibeStudyTools).
On the other hand, when we are connected with God and feel like we are overflowing, we shout praises: “Thank you, God! You are so good! Thank you for my life! Thank you for making a way for me!” This is also proper use of hosanna (extract from BibeStudyTools).
The psalmist recognise that they needed someone outside of themselves to save them and turned to God. As a result of the mercy and love of God for us, we received salvation in an unimaginable way. A way that can never be severed. It is also beautiful to know that the same word used to appeal to God for deliverance is now the the same hosanna used to shout in victory because of how God saved us through Christ. In this, lies a reminder of the promise of Christ’s return. The first promise given to the people back then was of the Messiah to come and that has been fulfilled. So now we wait expectantly for His return; however, this time as the Conquering King and Judge and to bring us into a world, without sin or death or sorrow or tears.