Exodus 12:22, “Take a bunch of hyssop and 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.”
The act of painting our door frame with blood apparently isn’t meant to be done gently. I think the Hebrew word naga (Strongs H5060) is supposed to bring to mind the wounds Messiah took upon his own flesh for us. This same word is translated as “stricken” in Isaiah 53:1-5, a lengthy Pesach prophesy about Messiah’s suffering.
“Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of YHWH been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.“
This same verse in the Exodus 12 Pesach instructions is also where “hyssop” is used for the first time. “Hyssop” may simply an English transliteration of the Hebrew word azzob
(Strongs H231). This plant resembles lavender and seems to be used exclusively in cleansing ceremonies. Leviticus 14 contains one set of related instructions. “…the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two clean birds and cedarwood and scarlet yarn and hyssop.” The scarlet yarn (representing blood) seems to be literally tied to hyssop in each of these cleansing ceremonies. David sings about such inner cleansing of the heart employing hyssop in a similar way in Psalm 51.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.“
Once we connect the spiritual cleansing of the hyssop along with the scarlet blood we can see a deeper level of what occurred on the cross on that beautiful Pesach night:
John 19:28 “After this, Yeshua, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Yeshua had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
With this one verse in the Gospel of John we see the ritual elements of Pesach. On Pesach, we choose to stay inside, protected from death. Our Messiah, however, chose to be outside and allowed himself to be stricken. His blood needed to remain outside as a sign for all of us who honor him on Pesach. The hyssop points towards his cleansing work for all of us who honor him on Pesach. He is the bread of life for those us who eat Matza on Pesach, and the Lamb who was slain for us who eat his flesh on Pesach. He drank the bitter cup of wrath down to the dregs for those of us who drink his blood on Pesach. With his dying breath he gave up his spirit, so it could be breathed back into us three days later on the Day of First Fruits. This incredible fulfillment is what allowed Messiah to say “It is finished”. It is this finished work which inspires and encourages us as we honor Pesach each and every year.