Hosanna! – April 8, 2022 (98/365)

I’m starting to think I should probably get the writing done sooner. If I keep doing this in the evening eventually this feeling that I have that all I’m doing is blabbering to get it all over with is going to be the prevalent mindset, and I don’t want that.

We’re coming to a hundred straight days of typing a thousand words a day, and though I doubt anyone’s been with me since the beginning (which you’ll notice isn’t exactly on the first day of the year), I want to say thank you to anyone and everyone who’s been with me – hell, if this is the first time you’re jumping into me defragmenting whatever’s in my head by way of writing straight and writing at random, I’m just as thankful to you. God bless you.

There have been times that this has felt like a real chore, but tonight it just feels like usual – what did that one Russian agent tell Grigor in Ronin? ‘En plain form’? Or in terms closer to those recognizable by today’s audience, less meh. I’m leisurely walking my fingers and my mind through the process, thinking and writing/typing in free form. Earlier I started my initial reading in preparation for my message this coming Palm Sunday, and while I do have an foundation in my head, the overall theme that I spilled for the worship team to start doing their magic was along the lines of the grace of God being attractive, or something like that.

Yep, it looks like I’m going there. I remember the simple theme I had to kick things off last Sunday (as last Sunday was the first Sunday of the month, and of the quarter, meaning we’re starting off a new series) was along the lines of being gracious and graceful to others as God has been gracious and graceful to us. We talked about the definition of grace as mentioned in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and what I remember – this isn’t a direct copy from the actual app – is that grace is ‘unmerited divine assistance to humans for their sanctification and regeneration’. Yeah, I think that was pretty close to what was actually written there.

I was reading from Andrew Farley’s new book, The Grace Message, and I do remember one chapter talking about the real commandments that Christ left for us – It’s not the Law as given to the Israelites in the Old Testament, nor is it the 10 Commandments (which is part of the said Law), and nor is it to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ / ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (these being the ‘greatest’ of the said Law, according to Jesus when asked). No, 1 John 3:23 says “this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

In John 6:29 Christ was asked ‘what must we do, to be doing the works of God?’, and He responded “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” ; Later on, in the same Gospel, in chapter 13, Christ mentioned the other commandment – that is, ‘that you love one another: Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.’

Believe, and Love. It’s actually the other side of the coin of the said ‘greatest’ Laws. Instead of us speculating if we’re able to really love God with ALL our heart, mind, soul and strength, or instead of us guessing HOW we love ourselves, we would rather believe in the absolute Truth of God loving US with ALL His heart, mind, soul and strength (proven through Christ laying down His body and blood), and from here, not only are we directed, but we are inspired, and not only are we inspired, but we are strengthened with full power and peace to love one other – that all would know that we are Christ’s, and He is ours.

When we believe that the unmerited divine assistance to us for our sanctification and regeneration has been proven and demonstrated to us by no less than Christ through His finished work, we celebrate. In our celebration I believe it is but natural for us, as new creations regenerated and sanctified by Christ, to help others who the world has turned their backs on, to help others whose plight is actually dwarfed by all the accusation that they receive from the enemy… just as we were helped, so we help. Just as we have been given grace, so we grant grace.

And it appears, in our helping other people, they respond – by helping us back and/or helping others. Everyone wins. I think I’m going down this route as we approach this coming Palm Sunday. The multitudes who received Christ on a colt as He approached the gates of Jerusalem, they were witnesses of Christ healing the blind – if not, they were taken aback by Christ receiving their enemy (Zacchaeus), or raising Lazarus from the dead. The Gospels present these events happening before the events of Palm Sunday.

See how they responded! Because of Christ helping those who didn’t deserve it (the blind, the tax collector), or the dead who couldn’t help themselves, they thought it was a good idea to pad the path of the colt – I’m assuming they did this so he would walk comfortably, and for Christ, therefore to ride as easily. They knew what He has done, and they know what He could do. They cried out a bunch of things, but one word in common in all 4 Gospels was, ‘Hosanna!’

Going back to our handy dandy Merriam Webster book (which, by the way, isn’t necessarily the only place I go – there’s good ol’ Google to help us out, but I thought it would be nice to jump into an actual dictionary first), Hosanna was derived from the Hebrew, ‘pray, save (us)’! I would interpret it in the lines of ‘He helped us, He will help us!’

And to further paint a picture of the mindset of the multitudes, another common cry throughout each Gospel was ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!’. Now, the English Standard Bible points out that they were crying out according to what they most probably memorized or sung in the Psalms, particularly in Psalm 118. Verse 26 stretches it out, because it not only says ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!’ but it continues, ‘We bless you from the house of the Lord.’ The multitude of Israelites were brought to believe in Christ, and I’m assuming they were excited that the Messiah was finally coming to the Temple! I mean, that’s one way of possibly seeing it, but I’m not going to dwell on that – no, instead, look at verse 25: “Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!”

Friends, this tells me that Hosanna was literally in the mouths of the multitudes at least since this Psalm was written, and the nation of Israel was excited – For those who believed, this was the Messiah who would save them! Hosanna! He is here to save us!

And so, for those of us who HAVE been helped, by way of the finished work of Christ which went on far beyond His entry into Jerusalem… what does this mean for us?

We love one another, as we have been loved.

Just like we love one another, we show grace to each other, just as Christ gave us grace.

We show grace to each other, primarily by helping one another, even if we don’t deserve it – because Christ helped us, even if we never could deserve it.

When we help one another, we are celebrating the fulfillment of Hosanna! Christ who saved us, saves you!

Our families need help. Our cities need help. Our countries need help. This entire stinking world needs help.

And when the multitudes hear us helping, as Christ helps us, then no doubt – they would draw near to us. Some may actually come with palm fronds, but all of them will certainly draw near with hopes of hearing who helped us.

It is in these times that I would implore each and every one of us, to heed the words of Peter. When (and not if) people draw near to you, “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you” (1 Peter 3:15, GNT)

Before you execute the prescribed methodology of lifegroups… Man, celebrate life. Help as you have been helped, and don’t be surprised if people will draw to you. Grace is attractive like that.

This is what I have so far. What a beautiful revelation to start of this year’s Holy Week.


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