Dear Church Family,

For Holy Week our scripture comes from John 19: 28-30. Jesus is hanging on the cross and then we read this:

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’

Why do we call this day Good Friday? Of course we all understand the “Friday” part, but why “Good”? We read in scripture that our Lord was nailed to the cross at 9am on this day and he suffered there from then until his death. How can this be good?

One little leafy branch gives us a clue. When the soldiers hand sour wine up to Jesus on a branch of hyssop we have been told something very important. If we hadn’t understood before, here it now is, all the glory and beauty and goodness of this Friday. For we have seen hyssop before. It does not appear often in scripture, only a couple of times, but where it appears is what matters:

You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts“–Exodus 12: 22.

Hyssop is what carries the lamb’s blood onto the door frame of the Hebrew’s homes so that the angel of death (from the last plague) will pass over them and their firstborn sons will be saved. Here at the cross, hyssop carries sour wine to the Lamb who, on this day, becomes the door frame of our lives. He, the only Son, dies so that we will be passed over. On the cross Jesus’ arms stretch over the world, covering it and protecting it with his love and through his death.

That is why today is good.

Don’t let this day pass without taking, even just a moment or two, to sit in prayer and wonder as you consider how good this day just became.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, even on the cross you promise to remember us in your kingdom. We can do nothing other than rest in the gift of your love, for how can we ever repay it? Gives us hearts that rest with you today so that our lives can be a response to the good love we receive from you. In your name we pray. Amen.