Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin.” (Exodus 12:21-22)
It is interesting that in instructing the people the appropriate way to prepare for the Passover, Moses directed them to use hyssop to apply the blood to the doorpost. It’s interesting because in several places within the Scripture, hyssop was used for medicinal purposes and in rites of purification. For instance, in the book of Leviticus, hyssop was used in the purification process for someone who was healed of leprosy (Leviticus 14:4).
Thus we conclude that hyssop is considered to be a symbol of spiritual purification and, consequently, is tied to the concept of God doing what seems impossible. Where Biblical leprosy is concerned, it has long been argued that the disease was not what we call leprosy in our day — an affliction that results from a bacteria introduced into the body through the respiratory system — but was a physical condition reflecting intense spiritual corruption. In other words, there was no way for a leper to be healed short of a miracle of God because the issue wasn’t physical but a matter of the heart.
Understanding the importance of hyssop, we should not be surprised to see that it was present at Messiah’s crucifixion. As He prepared to die on account of our sins, someone took a hyssop branch soaked with sour wine and put it to His mouth. Refusing the concoction, He then said, “It is finished” (John 19:28-30). Just as hyssop was used to apply the blood of the lamb at that first Passover, hyssop became part of the drama that was unfolding as the Lamb of God was laying down His life for our transgressions that we might be cleansed.
Thus we close with the words of David after he he been confronted with his sin. He acknowledged that there was only One who could address his spiritual condition and do what was seemingly impossible. He wrote:
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
Blessings and Shalom,