“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matt 21:9
The word “Hosanna” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “save now” and it appears a few times in the New Testament, particularly in the books of Matthew and Mark; in their account of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The triumphal entry was Jesus’ remarkable entrance into Jerusalem. He rode into the city on a borrowed donkey that had never been ridden. His followers spread cloaks on the donkey for Jesus to sit and the multitudes welcomed Him by laying before the donkey their capes and branches of palm trees. The multitudes cheered and hailed Him as the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” as He rode the donkey to the temple, where He taught and healed. By saying “Hosanna” as Jesus passed through the gates of Jerusalem and referring to David and David’s kingdom, the Jews were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah; the long-awaited son of David (1 Chronicles 17:11–14). By adding “in the highest,” the people were entreating heaven’s blessing which in this context is the salvation that the Messiah was bringing. The phrase “in the highest” is also echoed in the song the angels sang at Jesus’ birth- “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14).
Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem publicly revealed His Messiahship as it fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy from Zechariah 9:9- “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Unfortunately, the salvation that the people of Jerusalem were crying for that day was political. Jesus was praised by the multitude not because they had acknowledged Him as their Messiah and Savior from sin. They sincerely were hailing Him out of their utmost longing for a messianic deliverer; someone to spearhead a revolution against the Roman occupation of the day. But the real problem of the nation of Israel and indeed the whole of mankind was not political, neither is it economic or social but spiritual. As the people cried out for salvation when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, they necessitated the cruel and substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, because this is the only way they can be saved from sin and its damning consequences.
God, through His donkey-riding lowly servant provided (spiritual) salvation from the primary bondage (of sin) the people were in. Today over 2000 years later, the blessed consequences of that salvation ripples into all eternity and far outweighs any momentary benefits that can be experienced in this world from political or economic emancipation. Instead of mere nations, Jesus conquers and wins the hearts and minds of men from sin and its lord. If Jesus has made a triumphal entry into your heart, He reigns there and you have now been saved from the highest!