“So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’” -John 12:13
Have you ever found yourself in a season of affliction? Maybe you are there now. Affliction has a way of breaking us down to the very foundation of our being. It can sometimes beat and batter us, leaving us with broken hearts and broken dreams. Maybe it’s the “I don’t love you anymore,” and your heart is in a million pieces. Maybe it’s the “You’re just not good enough,” and insecurity won’t shut up. Maybe it’s the “I’m sorry, but the cancer is back,” and hope is just a distant memory. It’s in the moments of total hopelessness that we see Jesus as wonderfully miraculous. It’s in the moments of utter failure that we see Jesus as completely victorious. It’s in the moments of deepest shame that we see Jesus as beautifully gracious. Afflictions are the fire in which we choose fear or faith. Fear will shatter us; faith will strengthen us. Afflictions cause us to either run away from or run toward God. My hope is that you will run to Jesus today and lay the broken pieces down at His feet.
I was reading John 12 this week in preparation for Palm Sunday. As I was reading, I stopped at the word hosanna. It’s a word that I had heard many times before and even sung it in church quite a few times but never knew what it meant. But this time the word felt different. In the footnotes of my Bible it said that in Hebrew it means “Save!” Later, it would also take on the meaning of praise. As I read this word over and over, my eyes welled up with tears. Hosanna. I kept saying it. Hosanna. It meant something deep inside of my soul. Hosanna.
If I am to be completely honest, I think it resonated in me because it’s the deep cry of my soul that I couldn’t name. Sometimes in seasons of affliction, our souls can’t find the words. It’s lots of tears and confusion but not many words. I think it was probably the same for the people of Jerusalem as they laid down their palm branches shouting, “Hosanna!” These people were a lot like you and me: broken. They were just looking for someone to put the pieces back together, to save them.
Maybe just like the people of Jerusalem, instead of laying down our palm branches, we lay down our broken pieces. We lay down the broken hearts and busted dreams. We lay down the bitter tears and the unending questions. We lay down the “I don’t love you,” and the “You’re not good enough.” We lay it all down in preparation for the Savior. Psalm 51 says that God can’t turn away a “broken and contrite heart.” Lay it down, the Savior sees.
Suddenly you look up, and the road is full of broken hearts and battered souls. It’s full of the hopes we had and the dreams we wished would come true. And as we survey this covered ground, our souls can’t help but cry hosanna. They can’t help but cry, “Save us, Jesus!” Do yourself a favor and let your soul cry out hosanna today. For Jesus hears the cry and He sees the broken pieces and He knows that this is why He came. As He passes by, our hosanna turns into a whisper of praise. For we know that He will save because that’s who He is and what He does. He saves.
This Holy Week, I hope you will let the cry of Hosanna be your cry for help. I hope you will watch as He takes the wounds that sting ever so painfully, and He binds them up ever so gently. I hope you will watch as the darkness flees in His very presence. I hope that this Holy Week, maybe unlike any other Holy Week, He calls you forth from the tombs into life. Hosanna, Jesus, hosanna in the highest.
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