“Save us, we pray, O LORD! … Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” Psalm 118:25,26
What is worship? Is it only to praise God for what He has accomplished, or could it also be to beseech God to accomplish something on our behalf? When we earnestly plead with God to do something for us, we are acknowledging our own helplessness, and our complete inability to do anything for ourselves, and we cast ourselves entirely on the mercy and grace of God!
Today is Palm Sunday, and we rightly remember the events of that first Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, and the crowds tossed their cloaks and palm branches before him to express a welcome fit for a king. And together they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest” (Mt. 21:9). They were quoting the above verses from Psalm 118, while using one new word: Hosanna! The word “Hosanna” seems to be a transliteration of the Hebrew words meaning, “Save us!”
Their cries were a mixture of pleading with God for salvation, and of blessing God for the One who came in the name of the Lord to be their Saviour! We know the crowds were fickle, and that many were only longing for an earthly salvation from Roman occupation, and we know too, that just five days later, these same crowds would chant: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” But behind the scenes, is the God who orchestrated the events of this Palm Sunday and who would answer the cries of “Hosanna! Save us!” later the same week with the most unlikely means of a cross and an empty tomb.
Like Israel of old, we may be tempted to believe that our greatest needs are political, or we may think our greatest needs are financial, or physical, or marital! But, like Israel of old, our greatest problem is the remaining sin in the heart of the one who faces us in the mirror each morning. Yet the wonder of the gospel is just this: that Jesus Christ came to save us from our sin! Daily we need to cry out, “Hosanna! Save us!” from our persistent sin, and daily we need to thank Him for being such a great Saviour! Such is true worship!