The Meaning Of Hosanna
I was sitting here this morning, writing out my Scripture of the day from Matthew 21:9…
Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”
It got me thinking. I have been singing that refrain almost every Easter since I was a little girl. But, what exactly did Hosanna mean? So, I went to Google and started to research it.
John Piper, from desiringgod.org, had the best explanation…
“You all know that the New Testament was first written in Greek, and the Old Testament was first written in Hebrew. Wherever the word "hosanna" occurs in the New Testament, do you know what the Greek word is? Right! It's "hosanna." All the English translators did was use English letters (h-o-s-a-n-n-a) to make the sound of a Greek word.
But if you look in a Greek dictionary to find what it means, you know what you find? You find that it is really not originally a Greek word after all. The men who wrote the New Testament in Greek did the same thing to a Hebrew word that our English translators did to the Greek word: they just used Greek letters to make the sound of a Hebrew phrase. I know this sounds sort of complicated. But it's really not. Our English word "hosanna" comes from a Greek word "hosanna" which comes from a Hebrew phrase hoshiya na.
And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help. Like when somebody pushes you off the diving board before you can swim and you come up hollering: "Help, save me…Hoshiya na!"
Over time, that word hoshiya na evolved. And, what it became is just so beautiful. It evolved from a plea for salvation and help, to a recognition that salvation has come. John writes, “It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can't keep it in.”
So, as I gear up to celebrate the resurrection of our amazing Savior this Easter, with all of my heart I will be singing, “Hosanna!”
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the salvation that comes from you alone!