Jesus is about to arrive at Jerusalem.
There is an interesting little story of Jesus telling the disciples to go look for a donkey. One Bible teacher I heard on this topic speculated that the donkey might have belonged to Mary, Martha and Lazarus' family. It is possible as they lived in Bethany which is very close to Jerusalem. The text in v. 1 refers to Bethphage which is believed to be close to Jerusalem as well.
Certainly, if a total stranger showed up saying, hey, lend me your donkey, it would seem odd that they would obtain the donkey just by asking for it. So perhaps Jesus was getting a donkey he knew of. On the other hand, it could be the powers of suggestion a la Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars - Episode 4 - A New Hope, "These aren't the droids you are looking for. Move along."
Anyway, Jesus obtains a donkey which is a symbol of humility and rides into Jerusalem in triumph.
In the New Living Translation, v. 9 is rendered, "Praise God* for the Son of David! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in the highest heaven!"*
In the footnotes, the * says:
Greek Hosanna, an exclamation of praise that literally means "save now."Some didn't know Jesus (v. 10) and asked, "Who is this?" To which some answered, "It's Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee."
The irony is striking. The crowds were cheering for Jesus here and saying, "SAVE NOW." But by the end of the week, Jesus would be dying on the Cross. I wonder how many in the cheering crowds wound up cheering as Jesus was crucified? I wonder how many of the people who shouted, "Save Now" realized that that was exactly what was happening on that Cross those few days later?
Makes me think of the classic hymn, O Sacred Head.
O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!
What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.
What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.