“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
This was written by the physician Luke, a well-educated man and a careful observer by profession.
Luke is also the only gospel writer to mention the bloody sweat, possibly because of his interest as a physician in this rare physiological phenomenon, which spoke elequently of the intense spiritual agony Jesus was suffering… (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defenders Bible, arginal notes for Luke 22:44)
Although this medical condition is relatively rare, according to Dr. Frederick Zugibe (Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York) it is well-known, and there have been many cases of it. The clinical term is “hematohidrosis.” “Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form.” Under the pressure of great stress the vessels constrict. Then as the anxiety passes “the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture. The blood goes into the sweat glands.” As the sweat glands are producing a lot of sweat, it pushes the blood to the surface - coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.
For more information:
How Jesus Died: The Final 18 Hours
35 min./Teen to Adult
What was the source of Jesus great stress and anguish? Clearly he was in intense spiritual agony. Being the Son of God, he would have in detail everything that was about to happen to him. He knew that he was physically facing one of the most horrible forms of capital punishment there has ever been. His body was human, and he would feel everything at least as intensely as we would. Was this the source of his severe stress? It is doubtful.
The really great weight upon Jesus was the knowledge that he would soon bear the terrible trauma of taking the guilt for all of our sins upon him—my sins and yours. He knew that under this weight of sin, the Father would forsake him and thus he would endure a form of hell itself for lost sinners.
As powerful as Jesus is, he could easily have avoided all of this and simply disappeared. He could have brought down a legion of angels to protect him. He could have made his skin impenetrable. He could have anesthetized his pain so that he felt nothing. But he chose to do none of these things. Rather, he willingly chose to genuinely be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities” so that he could truly pay for our sins and suffer human death.
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Author: Paul S. Taylor of Films for Christ.
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