By Kyle Larson – Contributor to the Institute
It’s late on a Thursday night. Jesus and his disciples have just finished eating the Passover meal. During this traditional gathering, the Rabbi, Jesus, had revealed some extraordinary things to his disciples. So extraordinary, in fact, that it would be some time before even they fully grasped their meaning.
The meal completed, Jesus and his disciples now make their way to a garden called Gethsemene. It’s a place they’d been many times before, but this evening Jesus expresses an unusual urgency to pray. Why tonight? Why here? After what was revealed at the Passover feast, what did the Rabbi has in mind?
Along the way, Jesus’ urgency only grows. In this urgency, the disciples see something they’ve not seen in their master before; They see fear. As he travels, Jesus’ mortal body is nearly overcome by apprehension and foreboding; As he approaches the gates, The fear center in his brain causes his heart to begin to race.
Upon reaching them, he halts and turns to speak. With his mind and body near a state of total emotional collapse, the words are difficult. Jesus informs his Disciples that he is engulfed in extreme sadness and fear. He and three of his disciples must travel further on to pray.
After a short distance, he stops again, telling the three disciples with him to wait while he goes further to speak with his Father. Now, as he settles into deep prayer, from his forehead come sweat like drops of blood. The blood in his body seeped into his sweat glands as he poured forth bloody sweat. This condition is known as Hematidrosis and is triggered by an unimaginable sense of fear and horror.
Jesus is not the only one in history who has experienced the of sweating blood. Aristotle mentions this condition in one of his writings. Long after the time of Jesus, this condition would be reported widely.
In 1884, for example, a Dr J.H Pooley noted the emotional trauma of 6 condemned prisoners on their way to execution. In another case, the attempted rape of a woman caused her sweat to become like blood. In yet another case, a sailor caught out in a terrible storm at sea proceeded to sweat blood because of the extreme and unimaginable fear that he felt in that storm. During World War 1, a child in London during bombing raids was so overcome with fear, that she sweated great drops of blood.
As Jesus continues to pray, he becomes so overwhelmed with fear, that the Father sends an angel to comfort him. Jesus starts shivering and trembling in the cold night air. It seemed as though the overwhelming emotional agony of Jesus would never end. Yet as he kept sweating blood, as his heart kept beating rapidly, his shortness of breath along with all the other symptoms that goes along with extreme emotional agony, he slowly started to accept the reality of the Father’s Will for him.
As he accepted his Father’s Will for him, he slowly started to relax over his whole body. His heart rate started to slow down and his skin becomes less and less pale.
Jesus has won a mighty victory as he finally and willingly accepts his Father’s Will to go to the cross.