What does hosanna mean?
"Hosanna" is a way to shout out for help. There are two Hebrew words that combine to form the word hosanna. The first, yasha, means to deliver or save. The second, anna, is begging or beseeching. Together, they form the word hosanna, or begging to be saved. We see these Hebrew root words in Psalm 118:25: "Save us, we pray, O LORD! …"
When Jesus entered Jerusalem a week before His crucifixion, the crowds shouted "Hosanna." They recognized Him as a savior (Matthew 21:9–17), but their understanding of whether Jesus was a military savior, a cultural savior, or a spiritual savior is unknown.
Even the children shouted "hosanna" at Jesus (Matthew 21:15). When the chief priests and scribes saw this, in conjunction with the wonderful things Jesus had done, "they were indignant" (Matthew 21:15). Jesus quoted Psalm 8:2 to them, claiming to be God and telling the religious leaders that the children's praise was appropriate (Matthew 21:16).
Jesus did, indeed, save. A week later the crowds were calling for His crucifixion. And it was through His death and subsequent resurrection that we are offered salvation (John 3:16–18; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8–9).
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