Hosanna! Preparing for Palm Sunday

The worship team spends hours each week practicing for the Sunday Gatherings, preparing our voices and instruments for worship. Did you know that it's also really important for us as members to prepare? We need to come on Sundays ready to sing and worship. To that end, Stephen Cowart has written a short post to help us get ready for this Sunday, March 24th.


Guest Post by our Worship Team Leader, Stephen Cowart

Transient

Palm Sunday is this upcoming Sunday. Palm Sunday is always one week before Easter, celebrating The Triumphal Entry when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time before his death. (Be sure and read one of the accounts of Palm Sunday in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, or John 12.) To celebrate, we will be singing together "Hosanna," by Andrew Peterson.

The name of the song, Hosanna, is a word of praise and adoration, but also means “save” or “save us now.”  When Jesus entered the city, the people cried out to Jesus, "Save us."

Peterson's song is a reflection on this cry. You can find a recording of the entire song online (MySpace, YouTube). To keep it short, though, we’ll only be looking at the final verse.

"Hosanna"

You have crushed beneath your heel the vile serpent
You have carried to the grave the black stain
You have torn apart the temple's holy curtain
You have beaten death at death's own game
Hosanna!

You have crushed beneath your heel the vile serpent

This is an allusion to Genesis 3, right after Adam and Eve first sinned. In Genesis 3, God curses the deceitful serpent for his participation in mankind’s first sin: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (Genesis 3:15 NIV).

This is a very early promise, made by God Himself, that from Eve’s lineage (her seed) will be born a man who will crush the serpent. Through Eve's future child, God will execute justice for Satan's sin. The serpent will hurt the man, but the man will crush the serpent. On Palm Sunday, we proclaim and celebrate that Jesus is this long-awaited son. Satan is vile, an enemy behind everything wrong with the world (Ephesians 2:1-3). He has crushed him, defeating sin by His sacrificial death. And at the resurrection, He proclaims His power over death itself! 

You have carried to the grave the black stain

The black stain is a metaphor for the unclean and deadly consequences of our sin.  All of us are marred by sin, unable to remove the stain of guilt and shame from our lives. Here, we confess that Jesus (who was Himself without sin and stain) chose to carry our stain to His grave. He killed the sin by being killed himself.

You have torn apart the temple's holy curtain

The stain of sin separates us from God. We learn from Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 9 that a veil (or curtain) separated God and people in the temple’s Most Host Place, symbolizing the sin that separates us. This curtain is speculated to have stood 60 feet high, and 4 inches thick. Miraculously, the Bible tells us that this curtain was torn from top to bottom just as Jesus breathed His last (Matt 27:50-51). This shows a spectacular end to the barrier of sin between man and God.

You have beaten death at death's own game

See all of Romans 6, but know this: “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” (Romans 6:9, ESV) Christ has beaten death by dying. And "If we have died with Christ, we will also live with him." (6:8)

Covenant, embrace Palm Sunday with a glad heart for the things that Christ has done for you!  Come ready and eager to tell and sing of His marvelous works and the gift of a resurrection for you!  Your stain has fallen on another, and you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!  Hosanna in the highest!

What are some of your favorite Palm Sunday and Easter songs?