• wyvernkw

Understanding “Hosanna”

Updated: Jan 22, 2020

Kwong Wai Cheng

About the Songs We Sing

Throughout the bible, we read about people enjoying God through songs of praise. Indeed, music coupled with meaningful words, goes a long way to soothe our weary hearts, refresh our souls and help us connect with God again. Through this series, I hope to share my findings and reflections about some of the hymns we sing in church. Perhaps it will also help you to enjoy God better, just as it has helped me.


by Brooke Ligertwood

Worship & Song, No. 3188

This moving piece hails from Hillsong Music, a church of the Pentecostal movement in Australia. While I do not subscribe to faith-healing and speaking in tongues, I deeply believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, the need for faith among believers, and the importance of emotional connection with God. The simple song has a very important refrain: “Hosanna in the highest!”

This familiar line can be found (quoted exactly) in the gospels, in Mark 11:10 and Matthew 21:9. At this point, Jesus was entering Jerusalem to meet his death. The unknowing crowd welcomed Jesus, laying down palm fronds before his path like a soft “green" carpet, and breaking out in praise.

Hosanna in the highest! Praise and adoration to the one in the highest realm, Jesus, Son of God! The mood was grand and exhilarating, because the crowd was truly excited to welcome the Messiah. Ironically, this same group of people demanded Jesus’ crucifixion, just a day after this grand welcome…

I can relate with these people, because it is so easy to be swept up by the hype of the moment, and be influenced by the majority. With the same lips, I can pray to God and the next moment, lash out in anger. Am I behaving like a hypocrite? I see it as me being emotion-controlled (versus Spirit-controlled), and losing the ability to guard my tongue.

Therefore the bridge now holds deeper meaning:

“Heal my heart and make it clean.

Open up my eyes to the things unseen.

Show me how to love like you have loved me.

Break my heart from what break yours.

Everything I am for your kingdom's course.

As I go from nothing to eternity."

Our Christian walk is both an emotional connection and an intentional decision to love modelled after how Christ has loved us. While external factors may assail us, we are not swept away. With a healed heart, we keep our eyes focused on Christ and the things unseen; giving of our efforts not for selfish gains, but for the kingdom's cause; humbled that we are nothing, yet gaining eternity with God in heaven.

So as we sing “Hosanna", let's praise God with all our hearts, remembering His sacrifice, and respond by loving God and people.

Kwong Wai Cheng

Wai Cheng is fascinated with words, especially the Word. Her life has always been revolving around words/Word, in one way or another. And she hopes to always hold fast to the Word, to draw strength and gain wisdom, to do the right things in God's sight.

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