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HOSANNA! "Save now," or, “Send now prosperity!" was a triumphal cry, used in the religious services of the Jews when our Lord was on earth. It was specially addressed to God on great feast-days; the priests chanting certain psalms, and the people responding with loud" hosannas," the children joining in the shout, and while so doing all waving branches of the palm and willow. On "the last day, that great day of the feast" (John 7:3737In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37)) of Tabernacles, throngs of people crowded the courts of the temple, and made processions round the altar with great shoutings of hosanna, and weavings of entwined branches of willow; myrtle, and palm. We can form but a feeble idea of the joyful scenes that took place in the glorious temple of God in Jerusalem, and how the hosannas and hallelujahs of thousands rang through its beautiful courts, and echoed down the streets of the city.
In the 118th Psalm, at the commencement of verse 25, is the original of the word hosanna—hosiah-na: save now. The whole of the verse runs thus: "Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity." To read the whole of the psalm is to see at once how surely it speaks of our blessed Lord Jesus. He is "the stone which the builders refused" (verse 22); and we know how He Himself asked the chief priests and the elders of the people, "Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?" (Matt. 21:4242Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? (Matthew 21:42).)
The day before Jesus asked this question in the temple, He had come to Jerusalem, as the prophet so many years previously had foretold: "Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass" (verse 3). The meek and lowly Jesus thus rode into Zion with a very great multitude around Him, and some spread their garments on the road, while others cut down branches of trees, and strewed them in the way. From before and behind Him arose the triumphal cry from thousands of voices, “Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord.' (See Psa. 118:2626Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. (Psalm 118:26).) Hosanna in the highest." They. rejoiced greatly. (Zech. 9:99Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9).) Well did those multitudes know these words, for they had again and again cried them aloud in their feast-day services. Now He, of whom the psalmist wrote, Zion's King, was in their midst.
The whole city was stirred, and 'we can well picture to ourselves the crowded streets and house-tops filled with people, all saying, as the joyful procession moved along, "Who is this?" and we can hear the multitudes answer, "This is Jesus, the Prophet of Galilee.”
So He entered the temple, the just and lowly Lord. Immediately, He cast out those who sold doves and changed money there: these men were robbers of the country people and the poor. They used the very offerings of Jehovah's worshippers as a means to enrich themselves. He cleansed that sacred building and its courts from these who had turned Jehovah's house, the house of prayer, into a den of thieves. "Holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, forever." (Psa. 93:55Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever. (Psalm 93:5).)
His fame that day reached to the ends of Jerusalem. The blind and the lame heard the hosannas; they groped or dragged themselves into the temple, and He healed them. Zion's King in grace allowed not sin or suffering a place in the house of prayer. The chief priests, vexed and angry, could do nothing; the temple, as the city, rang with hosannas to Jesus—"Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech Thee, send now prosperity.”
Children had followed Jesus into the temple. On the feast-days they had joined with their parents in loud hosannas, now they crowded around Jesus and cried aloud to Him, “Hosanna to the Son of David!
See them all looking up into His face! Yes, Jesus loves little children. He loves to have the dear little ones look up to Him; He is love. He welcomed their praise; He is so gentle. May be, they did not understand all that their words meant; but Jesus listened to them.
The priests were much annoyed to hear the children call Jesus the Son of David in the temple, and say to Him, " Save now; send now prosperity I" Who but Ile can save? Who but He shall send us prosperity? To Him we will cry, Hosanna. Yes! Hosanna to Jesus! The priests might try to hush the children's voices. Very displeased they might be, and indeed, we can see them bidding the little ones not to make so much of Jesus. But, children, you cannot make too much of our blessed Saviour, for He died for us, and He loves little children. So sing hosanna to Him. It was of no use putting up the finger to the children, and saying, "Hush!" for cry aloud hosanna to Jesus, they would.
Really, one could almost wish to be a child again for an hour, were it possible, to stand among a multitude of boys and girls who love Jesus, and who all sing from their heart of hearts His praise. But a brighter and sweeter day is near! All who love the dear Saviour shall stand about Him in heaven; all shall look into His face and sing His praise. Thousands and thousands shall gather around Him, and multitudes of dear little children shall sing "Glory, glory, glory!" Oh, how happy that day will be!
It was in vain to try to hush the children's hosannas in the temple, and at length the chief priests and scribes came to Jesus and said, "Hearest Thou what these say?" "These," that means the children; as if they were so noisy and foolish, yes, so wrong in praising Jesus in the Temple of God. Of course the Lord heard what they said! He hears every word we say. He hears in heaven what you whisper in mother's ear; yes, what you whisper in your heart for mother not to hear! And He hears the children's praises: He loves to hear them. "Yes," said He to the priests.
And then the Lord asked them if they had never read this text: "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise" (ver. 16), and this means very little ones, too young to read, but not too young to love; and He left the priests to search their Scriptures. The poor priests and scribes would not praise Jesus; they did not love Him.
God grant that our dear little readers, and such as are too little to read themselves and who are read to—the very small boys and girls, may every one sing the praises of Jesus here, and also in heaven, In the beautiful city of God, the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple. (Rev. 21:2222And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22).) There no proud chief priests and scribes shall say “Hush" to the children's praises; there the songs of praise shall never, never end; there the blessed Jesus who died for us shall never, never, be pained, nor weep over the hardness of men's hearts; but all shall see His smile of love.
Come, children, one and all, crowd around Jesus the Saviour; cry aloud to Him, "Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!”