Psalm 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
John 19:29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.
Hebrews 9:19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.
The first instruction regarding hyssop was on the initial day of Passover. God told the people, through Moses, to anoint the doorframe with the blood of the lamb using a branch of hyssop.
Hyssop also played a part in the crucifixion. When Jesus said, “I thirst,” they gave him vinegar to drink using the hyssop.
A bushy plant in the mint family, hyssop was used for a variety of medicinal techniques in Bible times. But most of the time when mentioned in the Old Testament, it was relied on for its sturdy structure and cleansing properties.
Hyssop dried and purified. It could act as an astringent or antiseptic. But often when used for religious ceremonies, it didn’t have time to use the abilities God gave it. Instead, just knowing what it could do symbolized what God would do.
The Passover Lamb needed the hyssop to impart cleansing and safety from death. The dead creature could not apply its own blood to those who needed it. And the efficacy of its blood only lasted until the next Passover.
The Lamb of God did not need hyssop, but he used it. Accepting the vinegar from the hyssop referred to the purification needed by all people—the one he offered. The hyssop referred to not only what he could do, but what he would do.
His blood would cleanse us all from all of our sins for all time. Humankind simply had to let him apply it the doorframe of our lives. And for whoever does that, he becomes both the door and the way.
As Simeon had said, his sacrifice was prepared in the presence of all peoples.
Or as Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas