Today is Palm Sunday, when Christians and churches commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem a week before His resurrection, where the crowds laid palm branches in front of Him as He rode through on a donkey. This is recorded in each of the four gospels, fulfilling the prophecy in Zech. 9:9. The choice of riding on a donkey, as opposed to a horse (symbol of war), could have symbolised peace, or Jesus as the Prince of Peace. Palm leaves or branches, in certain traditions, were a symbol of triumph and victory.

Hosanna is often thought of as a declaration of praise, similar to hallelujah, but it is actually also a plea for salvation. The Hebrew root words are found in Ps. 118:25, which says, “O Lord, save us”. The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that , in English, is “hosanna”. Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”

So as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, the crowds were perfectly right to shout “Hosanna!” They were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah (as shown in their address “Son of David”). Theirs was a cry for salvation and a recognition that Jesus is able to save. That’s exactly why Jesus had come. Within a week, Jesus would provide the world with the gift of salvation and eternal life, not just by dying on the cross for our sins (Good Friday), but ultimately overcoming sin and death through His resurrection (Easter Sunday). This is the significance of Palm Sunday, and the reason why Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem was indeed triumphal.

Are you in need of a Saviour today? For those who have been saved, how do we live our lives in the reality that Jesus indeed is our Saviour, our Messiah? In this season leading up to Easter, may God grant us opportunities to hear the gospel afresh, to come with grateful hearts of thanksgiving for all He has done for us on the cross, and to be a witness of our Saviour who indeed is mighty to save.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes …” (Rom. 1:16)

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