Hosanna is often thought of as a declaration of praise, similar to hallelujah, but it is actually a plea for salvation. The Hebrew root words are found in Psalm 118:25, which says, “Save us, we pray, O LORD!” (ESV). The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that, in English, is “hosanna.” Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”
So, as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem, the crowds were perfectly right to shout “Hosanna!” They were acknowledging Jesus as their Messiah, as shown in their address “Son of David.” Theirs was a cry for salvation and a recognition that Jesus is able to save.
Later that day, Jesus was in the temple, and the children present were again shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:15). The chief priests and the teachers of the Law were displeased: “‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked Him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants You, Lord, have called forth Your praise”’?” (Matthew 21:16). In saying, “Hosanna!” the people were crying out for salvation, and that’s exactly why Jesus had come. Within the week Jesus would be hanging on a cross.