THE HYSSOP BRANCH
When Jesus was dying on the cross for our sins, the Bible says that He said, “I’m
thirsty.” When Jesus said that the Roman soldiers reached over, got a sponge and filled it
full of vinegar and John says they put it on a hyssop branch and put it to His mouth.
I want to talk today about the hyssop branch. Probably this morning at breakfast
you said to your family, “I’ve been wondering what a hyssop branch is. I really hope the
preacher talks about it this morning.” You’re in luck. You picked the right Sunday to
come. I want to talk with you about this hyssop branch and the importance of it.
The hyssop branch was a very common bush or branch in the Holy Land. It grew
out of the walls around that particular area. Because of its leafy texture and its ability to
absorb liquids very well, it was commonly used as an applicator or brush. Especially in
the Old Testament ceremonies the hyssop branch was used for the sprinkling or the
application of blood. So, the hyssop branch is going to preach us a sermon this morning
about the shed-blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross the day He died.
When Billy Graham was a young man and just getting started in his preaching
ministry, a professor of Cornell University came to him and said, “Young man, it is
obvious that you are gifted. You are a good communicator. You have a winsome
personality and you are evidently sincere. I believe you are going to have a very
successful ministry, but you are going to have to leave out that “blood stuff.” Billy
Graham decided, at that point, that he would preach more than ever on the blood of the
Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of
From time to time folks leave our church and they ask how they can go about
finding a church. One of the things I try to say to them is this. When you go to a church
and you listen for a few Sundays, see if they ever make mention of the blood of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Not every message that is preached, but just see if the blood of Jesus has a
place in the preaching of the church where you are going. The blood of the Lord Jesus
Christ is an essential. It is the ingredient which the Bible says pays the penalty for our
sins. In the Old Testament the blood was mentioned many times. This hyssop branch
which John inserts in the narrative at the cross is a connection between the blood of Jesus
on the cross and all of the Old Testament ceremonies.
In the Old Testament in a variety of ceremonies they would take a hyssop branch
and sprinkle or apply the blood. All of the Old Testament system, all of the ceremonies,
all of the sacrifices, all of the laws—the entire system—was a picture like that hyssop
branch pointing us to what Jesus would do that day when He died on the cross. It’s as if
God says, “Do you see that manna falling out of heaven? That ...
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