“The excretion through the skin of blood or blood pigments.”UCSF Medical Center
I love our Sunday School kids. I get to teach for a week each month and they astound me with their perspective and awe at the Word. This Sunday, one of the kids mentioned that Jesus sweat blood before being betrayed and I explained that this blood sweating is an actual medical condition. They were amazed that it was true. I realized during that exchange that many times I, too, am amazed at the truth of the Word. I take it for granted so often, not really studying and allowing the Word to reveal its truth practically as well as spiritually.
Taking the Word by faith or at face value is a wonderful thing, but studying it and letting it prove itself is an exciting experience! However, as exciting as it is to see the Word reveal its truth yet again, Jesus’s condition of hematidrosis is a harrowing witness to the exceptional anguish He experienced prior to His death.
A dermatology journal published a study several years ago which stated hematidrosis is caused by acute fear, intense emotional contemplation, and/or chronic stress (Indian Journal of Dermatology, 2008). Which cause Christ bled for is uncertain and as a friend and wise counsel explained to me today, “only His prayers are a clue.”
Luke 22:42-44, NIV
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Matthew Henry gives an opinion that the prayer Jesus prayed was “the language of that innocent dread of suffering which, being really and truly man, he could not but have in his nature.” We don’t know whether it was for fear of God’s wrath, the weight of the sin He was accepting in His body, the war between His humanness and His Spirit, the enemy’s attack, or otherwise that He suffered the condition.
What we do know is He asked for the cup to be taken, yet willingly resigned Himself to the plan of salvation which He Himself designed from before Creation. Over and over, at every crux of the cross, He chose to go on. He chose to endure for me. Oh, what a Savior! Isn’t He wonderful?
Prayer: Lord, I will likely never understand the deep agony You suffered even before Your betrayal. I probably won’t ever understand the immense emotional anguish You endured on my behalf, not to mention the physical pain. But, I am so thankful for every painstaking step You willingly took for me to the cross. Every time You went against the natural human choice to say, “Never mind,” is a beautiful testament to the grace You offer me. Thank You for considering me worth dying for. How I love You, Lord. Amen.