Lent Devotional Day 27

Day 27
Monday, March 20

John 12:1-19

12 Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined him at the table. 3 Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound,[a] of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. 4 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), complained, 5 “This perfume was worth a year’s wages![b] Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” (6 He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would take what was in it.)

7 Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone. This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she has used it. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you won’t always have me.”
9 Many Jews learned that he was there. They came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 The chief priests decided that they would kill Lazarus too. 11 It was because of Lazarus that many of the Jews had deserted them and come to believe in Jesus.

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord![c]
    Blessings on the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 Don’t be afraid, Daughter Zion.
        Look! Your king is coming,
            sitting on a donkey’s colt.[d]
16 His disciples didn’t understand these things at first. After he was glorified, they remembered that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

17 The crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead were testifying about him. 18 That’s why the crowd came to meet him, because they had heard about this miraculous sign that he had done. 19 Therefore, the Pharisees said to each other, “See! You’ve accomplished nothing! Look! The whole world is following him!”

I hope I am not the only one who, that for the longest time, had no idea what the word “Hosanna” meant. After a while it had just become one of those church words that I would hear in worship music or around the Lenten season, but I never really connected with it. I thought Hosanna sounded beautiful, but it had an almost otherworldly feeling, like a gem that was something to behold, but just out of reach. If you have worshipped with us here at The Gathering then odds are you have sung the words “Hosanna in the highest” each week before partaking in communion, but what does this word and phrase mean for us?

As we see in scripture a crowd has gathered to see Jesus triumphantly arrive in Jerusalem. Upon entering the city, Jesus is met with cheers of “Hosanna!” and exalted with palm branches. For context, the crowd came not only for Jesus, but for Lazarus as well, whom he had raised from the dead. They came to bear witness to the miracle of one whom was saved from death. In my Bible at home it uses the phrase “Praise God!” meaning to express adoration, praise, or joy as its translation to “Hosanna!”, which still feels appropriate, for saving one from the clutches of death and the coming of the Messiah are surely good reasons as any to call for praise; however, I decided to continue to dig deeper. 

In my research I found that the word Hosanna comes from the transliteration of the Hebrew yasha, meaning to save or deliver, and anna, meaning to show favor or grace. Essentially, Hosanna means “Please, save us! Show us grace!”. The people of Jerusalem were praising Jesus and beseeching him to save them from death. Little may they have known that he did not come to save them just from a physical death, but to save them from a spiritual death and to grant them everlasting life. 

While we were not there to witness Jesus enter Jerusalem in the flesh we have the miraculous grace of experiencing him through the Holy Spirit in the here and now. What grace it is to know that Jesus is the Messiah; he is who the people of Jerusalem hoped he would be. May we speak Hosanna from the heart as we offer our highest praise. Hosanna!

May I offer us this prayer:
My sweet Lord,
Thank you so much for allowing us to reflect upon your word today. May we meditate upon your truth and everlasting grace and to sing Hosanna from the truest parts of our hearts. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus the Messiah, to live and die for us. May we allow him to enter our hearts and to fill them with love and compassion for all beings. Amen.

By Zach Adams

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