So “Hosanna!” means, “Hooray for salvation! It’s coming! It’s here! Salvation! Salvation!”
And “Hosanna to the Son of David!” means, “The Son of David is our salvation! Hooray for the king! Salvation belongs to the king!”
And “Hosanna in the highest!” means, “Let all the angels in heaven join the song of praise. Salvation! Salvation! Let the highest heaven sing the song!”
—John Piper, “Hosanna!” (Sunday evening, March 27, 1983, Bethlehem Baptist Church)
It’s the first Palm Sunday, and here comes Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds begin to shout “Hosanna! Hosanna!” The old donkey pricks up his ears. Some in the crowd throw their coats in the road; others spread out palm branches.
“Well!” says the donkey, switching a fly off a mange patch. “I had no idea they really appreciated me like this! Listen to those hosannas, would you. I must really be something!”
Friends, if anybody comes around after the service saying, “Wow! That was terrific!”— they’re not actually saying hosanna to you.
All you did was bring Jesus to them.
—A. W. Tozer (cited by Anne Ortlund, Up with Worship, 169-70)