A friend of mine trained to be a spy with the CIA. One of the training exercises sent him alone into a city to look for his contact, without telling him how to identify him. In the books, the contact always has a newspaper under one arm and responds to the secret password. I wish I knew how this guy identified his contact, but I suppose then he would have had to kill me.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, that was His folded newspaper. He was revealing Who He was, to those with eyes to see. When the people spontaneously began to shout “Hosanna,” that was the password. God had set it all up in advance, and revealed it through the prophets.
Here’s the prophecy about what to look for:
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
And here is the password:
O LORD, save us;
O LORD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you. (Psalms 118:25-26)
By the way, that first phrase, “O Lord, save us” contains the Hebrew word that is translated, “Hosanna!” Literally, “Help!” When Jesus rode in on the donkey, He was showing Who He was. And when the people called out, “Help, Hosanna,” Jesus responded. He said, “I have come to save you; trust Me.”