What does Matthew record that the people were crying out as Jesus made His entrance into Jerusalem on the colt of the donkey? See Mat 21:9. What does hosanna mean, and what is its significance? Note: Hosanna is a transliteration of the Hebrew hoshiah na from Psalm 118:25-26 that means literally save now, I/we beseech thee, and is related to Jesus’ name in Hebrew (Yeshua, cf. Joshua). In the context of what was happening, what is the significance of this psalm that the people had in mind as they were shouting out these things? Note: Psalm 118 is the last psalm of the Hallel (as in Hallelujah) that included Psalms 113-118, which were sung as songs of joy and praise at Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, and the new moons. Hence all the Jews would have known these psalms by heart, having sung them regularly all their lives. By Jesus’ time hosanna had become an acclamation of praise to God as the One from whom salvation comes—especially to the meek and humble, which was how the Jews saw themselves among the Gentile nations. Read through these psalms, and note especially Psa 113:5-7, 115:9-13, 116:1-8,12-15, 118:5-9,14,22-27. At Passover, Psalms 113-114 were sung before the meal, and Psalms 115-118 after the meal; see Mat 26:30. What then would have been the last words sung by Jesus and his disciples shortly before his arrest and crucifixion? See Psa 118:22-29.
What is the significance that their hosannas were “to the son of David”? Cf. Luk 1:32-33. What variations do the other gospels record of the acclamations to Jesus being made by the multitude as He made His entrance into Jerusalem, and what do they clearly indicate about who they were proclaiming and receiving Him to be? See Mar 11:9-10, Luk 19:38, Joh 12:13. See also Mat 1:1 and recall that Christ is the Greek form of Messiah, which means the anointed one and was understood as synonymous with “king” as the One whom God would anoint to deliver His people from their enemies; see 1Sa 10:1, 11:1-6, 16:12-13; cf. 1Sa 16:6, 24:6,10, 2Sa 22:51-23:1, Psa 2:2 where our English word anointed translates the Hebrew word we would transliterate as Messiah. Hence, in receiving Jesus as their king, what else were they receiving Him as? In what sense had Jesus been anointed by God with oil to be king? See Mat 3:16; cf. 1Sa 16:12-13, Zec 4:1-6. In what similar sense are we also anointed with oil as sons of the King to reign with Him? See Joh 1:33, Act 2:1-4,14ff,33, Rom 8:14-17.
Recall that Matthew is writing his gospel to Jews at the time many of them were rejecting Jesus as their Messiah because the gospel had been spreading and going forth to the Gentiles. Consider too the context of the Passover feast and the Hallel which they all knew by heart, both of which were absolutely central to who they were as a people. In what way then would this description of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem have been a powerful witness to the Jews that they needed to give serious consideration to the possibility that Jesus could very well be their expected Messiah in fulfillment of everything they knew to be true, whom they must not reject simply because God’s promised salvation was not what they expected and was extending even to the Gentiles? Still, as we know from history, most of them hardened their hearts and would not even consider the evidence. Is it possible that Christians today are like the first century Jews in expecting a similar type of salvation at Jesus’ second coming that delivers them from all their enemies and trials and tribulations, but who also refuse to consider that such a deliverance of necessity requires first a real deliverance from their sins? Is this not the salvation Jesus came to provide, but which many who suppose themselves to be Christians also reject because in their heart of hearts they love their sins more than they love God and like the Jews want only a deliverance from the penalty of their sins and not from sin itself? What must we do to avoid falling into the same trap? See 1Jo 2:15 and contrast 2Th 2:10.