“Hosanna!” is an exclamation of hope, salvation, prayer and worship. It’s what the palm-waving faithful shouted (John 12:13) to celebrate Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on what we now call “Palm Sunday.” The people recognized Jesus as the Messiah, which made the Pharisees furious, which led to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.
“Hallelujah!” – a word not in the Gospels and a reality not immediately grasped at the resurrection – means “Praise the Lord.” Christians now armed with historical perspective, scriptural truth and spiritual assuredness exclaim “Hallelujah!” on Easter to worship the Risen Lord. “Hallelujah!” is found only in Revelation 19:1, and is the “heavenly multitude’s” affirmation of God’s “salvation and glory and power.”
All four Gospels – the Bible’s books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – contain multiple chapters describing the biggest week in human history, when God as the sinless man Jesus was killed by sinful mankind to fulfill God’s plan of salvation for mankind and all creation by defeating sin and destroying death.
After 2,000 years of Bible descriptions, scholarly examination, church tradition and scientific investigation, doubters are still defiant, believers are thankful and reverent … and too much of the world still can’t see the big picture. But it is forever real.
What would it have been like to be there?
Matthew and John were there, but fled with the rest of the disciples when Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26:56). John returned and is the only disciple reported to have witnessed Jesus on the cross (John 19:26). On the third day, John and the disciple Peter raced to see the empty tomb (John 20:4).
Mark was there. He was the believer who ran naked from the arrest in Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52).
Luke, a Greek physician and friend of the Apostle Paul, was not there. He is the only Gospel writer who was neither in Jerusalem nor an acquaintance of Jesus. But Luke is authoritative because he meticulously “investigate[d]everything from the beginning” (Luke 1:3) to create an “orderly account” in the most elegantly written of the Gospels aimed at educating the Greek and gentile world.
The accounts in Matthew 21-28, Mark 11-15, Luke 19-24 and John 12-21 vary in their descriptions of Holy Week specifics, which blurs the truth for some. What’s important to know is God’s clear truth isn’t just in the details; it’s in the big picture.
And the biggest picture, the truth, is Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!