Matthew 21:9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The people were crying “Hosanna!” It was not Hallelujah, but Hosanna. Jesus was riding into Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover. Little did these people know that in less than a week He would be going to a cross. So, where did this word come from?
It is found in Psalm 118:25 which says, Save now, I pray, O Lord . . . It was actually two Hebrew words; yasha and anna.
Yasha means to “save” or “deliver.” Anna means “now” or “pray now.” It was a call or plead for salvation.
But, in the Greek it was abbreviated to Hosanna to form a single word. It was no longer a plea for salvation but was now a declaration of salvation. Salvation was in Jesus. He had become salvation personified. The cry had now become “Salvation in the Son of David, ” or “Salvation is here in the Son of David.” “We are saved!”
The difference would be between the cries of Israel in Egypt under slavery, “Save us!” and the rejoicing of Israel as they are leaving Egypt, “He saved us!”
I really do not think that everyone in the crowd understood what was happening and we really do not know who started the chant, but it was prophetic. Jesus came to pay the ultimate price as their Savior, his life. Salvation really was there in their presence!