‘Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!'” ‘ Matt. 3:1-3
Last week we took a look at part of the second most often quoted Psalm in the New Testament, Psalm 118. Verses 22 and 23 were cited and expounded upon for our edification, particularly the aspect that the chief corner stone which was rejected by the builders (Jews of Jesus’ day) was laid in heavenly Zion and it is that day that Scripture states is marvelous in our (spiritual) eyes and that we should be glad and rejoice in it.
Today we consider another part of that same Psalm, verse twenty-six, which is quoted five times in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Here is the part of the Old Testament passage quoted in the New: “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.” Three times in parallel passages the crowds cry out this quote (Matt. 21:9; Mark 11:9 & John 12:13) and Jesus Himself quotes this verse twice, Matt. 23:39 & Luke 13:35. Let’s first take a look at the crowds as they quoted this verse and pick up on an important word uttered before they quoted the portion of verse 26. It’s the word Hosanna. What does this word mean? In the New Testament Greek writings, this is a transliterated (not translated) Hebrew word. The translation of this word would more literally be, “do save, we pray.” Originally when used in the Hebrew language it was a cry for help. Now this term hosanna is located (surprise, surprise) in the same Psalm (118), which we’ve been studying, in context of verse 25: “O LORD, do save, (a form of the Hebrew word Hosanna) we beseech Thee” Remember, these words are uttered by the inspired psalmist after the statements concerning the awesome day the stone (Jesus) rejected by the builders became the chief corner stone and the believer’s rejoiced (as mentioned in verses 22-24). Back to what the people cried out when they saw Jesus entering the city upon the foal of a donkey per the inspired pen of Mark: “Hosanna! (Do save, we pray, literally) Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; hosanna in the highest! ” (Mark 11:9, 10) Now it’s clear the people thought Jesus was about to deliver them from the Roman oppression and usher in a new era in the kingdom of God’s people. Right concepts, wrong realm! Jesus was about to deliver the people-albeit from a greater oppressor, sin-and establish a new era in the kingdom of God’s people, a spiritual and universal one. Now let’s consider when Jesus quoted verse 26 of psalm 118. Both times it was in this context: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord !'” Matt. 23:37-39. Quoting from this Psalm, think He intended it to have something to do with “do save, we pray” in the context of verses 25-27 in Psalm 118? We need to be reminded the LORD gave the people of Jesus’ generation until the destruction of the Temple to get things figured out. Back to Psalm 118 to hear verses 25-27 in context. “O LORD, do save, we beseech Thee; O LORD, we beseech Thee, do send prosperity! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; we have blessed you from the house of the LORD. The LORD is God, and He has given us light; bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.” Only appraising things from a spiritual perspective can we truly understand Psalm 118, verses 22-29. The thrust of this Psalm in light of the New Covenant is once the Corner Stone (Jesus) was placed in heaven, the cry for true salvation and prosperity were made available. By reason of His resurrection from the dead, He was the first to proclaim light. (Acts 26:23) We now are considered blessed to come in the name of the LORD shedding the proper spiritual light on the saving and transforming message of Christ in glory. Amen!