Posted by: rcottrill | July 7, 2014

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

[July 7]
Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

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Words: Jeanette Threlfall (b. Mar. 24, 1821; d. Nov. 30, 1880)
Music: Ellacombe, a German melody from 1784, adapted by William Henry Monk (b. Mar. 16, 1823; d. Mar. 1, 1889)

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Note: The text of the hymn was published as a poem in 1873; the tune used for it was arranged by William Monk in 1868. Some information on Jeanette Threlfall’s care-filled life is found on the Worldwise Hymns link.

What is known as the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem is recorded in all four Gospels (Matt. 21:1-11, 15-15; Mk. 11:1-10; Lk. 19:29-38; Jn. 12:12-19). The involvement of children took place as a kind of aftermath of the actual procession, as the Lord entered the temple precincts:

“When the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant and said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes. Have you never read, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise [quoting Ps. 8:2]”?’” (Matt. 21:15-16)

The children “cried out” their hosannas (meaning “Save, I pray!”), echoing those of the adults (vs. 9). Whether they also sang or not we aren’t told, but it’s certainly possible. The expression comes from a psalm, which we know was sung at this time of year (cf. Ps. 118:25).

CH-1) Hosanna, loud hosanna, the little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple the lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.

CH-2) From Olivet they followed mid an exultant crowd,
The victor palm branch waving, and chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of men and angels rode on in lowly state,
Nor scorned that little children should on His bidding wait.

The scene is striking both for its simple majesty and for its missed opportunity. Centuries before, Zechariah had prophesied concerning the coming of Israel’s Messiah-King, and how He could be recognized:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).

The Gospel writers realized Christ was fulfilling this prophecy (cf. Matt. 21:4-5). There was general excitement about what the Lord would do. Would He use His great powers at that time to rid the nation of Roman domination? If that’s what many believed, they were in for a bitter disappointment. A week later, Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified.

For his enemies, this was seen as weakness, and proof positive that He wasn’t the Messiah as He’d claimed to be. They stood beneath the cross and mocked Him, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” (Matt. 27:42). But they should have read their Bibles more carefully. Before His reign was to come His rejection; before the crown, the cross.

Blind unbelief hid the true reality from the eyes of many. When the Lord Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem, He grieved at what was to come.

“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes’” (Lk. 19:41-42).

But a sovereign God was even in this. The cross of Christ had what theologians call a salvific purpose. In the rejection of Christ was the means of our salvation.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:5-6).

One day the Lord Jesus Christ will return in power and glory, and take up His reign over the earth (Matt. 24:30; Rev. 19:11-16). Until then, He is seated at the Father’s right hand, and rules as Head of the church (Eph. 1:22), and we can own Him as King over our lives, personally. He is both Lord and Saviour of those who trust in Him (I Pet. 3:18).

CH-3) “Hosanna in the highest!” that ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heaven our King.
O may we ever praise Him with heart and life and voice,
And in His blissful presence eternally rejoice!

1) What are some of the misconceptions about Jesus that are prevalent in our world today?

2) Does your church celebrate Palm Sunday? If so, what do you see as the value of this annual remembrance?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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