Tuesday, March 23, 2021
I struggle to understand conversations with my grandchildren. They use words that I do not know, and they use words that I know in new ways. I am constantly asking them what they mean by what they say. But the biggest frustration is when they deny that the word means what I know it means. They refuse to stop using it in the wrong context, and they defend how they use it even if it’s wrong.
We all do it. We allow culture to change the meaning of words, and we adopt the new context even if it’s wrong. For example, there is a synonym for “bright and happy and radiant” that is used in the King James Version of the Bible in James 2:3. “And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing…” That word cannot be used in the same context anymore, and we have adopted the new usage.
When the people of Jerusalem heard that Jesus was coming, they chose to celebrate by using a word out of context.
John 12:13 “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
As Jesus approaches, the people shout out a quote from the Psalms. The English translation of the Greek gives us the word “Hosanna!” The original reading in the Psalms is “Save us, we pray, O LORD!” (Psalm 118:25) I believe the people understood the meaning of the word, but they were using it in the wrong context. Let me explain.
The people of Israel knew the Messiah was coming, but they only envisioned His arrival in a political context. They believed He would save by delivering the nation from political bondage. They saw the Messiah as only a national deliverer. In that context, their use of the word “Hosanna” was correct. Unfortunately, that was not the Messiah’s intended context.
Jesus did not come in the Name of the Lord to deliver from political oppression. He did not come as a warrior against opposing governments. The Messiah did not come to set nations free. The Messiah came to save people from sin. If only the people had cried out for the Messiah to save them according to the redemptive purpose of God.
I wonder how often we cry out to God to save us, yet we do it in the wrong context. We ask God to save us from everything except our sin. We ask God to deliver us from every trouble when He has designed the trouble to express His grace and enhance our faith. How often do we inappropriately use the words of Scripture to ask God for things by taking them out of their intended context?
The Messiah, Jesus Christ, has come to set us free from our sin. When you shout “Hosanna” you are asking the Lord to save you. When Jesus Christ fulfilled His Messianic purpose on the cross by paying for our sin, He made it possible for your prayer for salvation to be answered. So on this upcoming Palm Sunday, when you shout “Hosanna!”, do so with a thankful heart that He has. No other deliverance is needed.