Gethsemane, Part 2: Hematidrotic Jesus

(If you’re not familiar with what happened in Gethsemane, the story is chronicled in three places:  Matthew 26:36-45, Mark 14:32-42, and Luke 22:39-46.  I will be referencing only bits and pieces at a time.)

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”  -Matthew 26:38 / Mark 14:34 (NIV)  (Alternative translations: “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow,” “My soul is crushed with grief,” “My heart is oppressed with anguish”)

“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”  -Luke 22:44

Physical torture is one thing; psychological torture is wholly another—the worser of the two, in my bold opinion.  The mental and emotional stress that Jesus underwent in the garden was so intense that his blood vessels ruptured, and he literally sweat blood.  This medical condition is known as hematidrosis.   (Fittingly, the physician Luke is the only Gospel writer who mentions this detail.)  Although rare, it has been noted on a handful of occasions, most frequently in the case of soldiers before battle, or men before their execution. 

Christ in Gethsemane

Fred Carter, "Jesus Praying in the Garden," 1987

The illustration I found that most compellingly captures the reality of the agonizing Christ in Gethsemane is by Fred Carter of Urban Ministries, Inc.  Look at the strain in Jesus’ eyes, the tension in his face.  Look at the swelling veins in his neck!  Now this is a Jesus who’s suffering, who’s pleading for his life.  And the twisted, contorted branches of the olive tree behind him remind us so, for they mimic the twisted expression of fear on his face.

Was it merely the prospect of a painful death that had Jesus under such extreme anxiety?  No, though that was part of it.  I believe that the deepest anxiety Jesus was feeling at this point was his anticipation of being cursed by the Father.  If Jesus was to atone for the sins of the world, that meant that the sins of the world would have to be transferred to him.  (This is how the Jewish sacrificial system worked.)  So while he hung on the cross, Jesus became the worst of what we are collectively.  He became a pervert, a drug addict, an arrogant jerk, and so on—the most disgusting, despicable offender (2 Corinthians 5:21).  And because God’s eyes are too pure to look on evil (Habakkuk 1:13), he had to turn his face away from his one and only son, with whom he had enjoyed perfect fellowship for all eternity until this point.  To be separated from one whom you love so dearly and are so much a part of, and moreover, to repulse that person, is an unbearable thing.  And indeed I think it is this event—not the crucifixion itself, but his Father’s response to it—that Jesus struggled so much to accept.

What else might Jesus have been agonizing about in Gethsemane?

If you could transcribe his stream of consciousness, what would it read?

This entry was posted in Popular Art, Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gethsemane, Part 2: Hematidrotic Jesus

  1. Jesus knew that he was the final atonement and second Passover lamb sacrifice for God’s firstborn son Israel (Exodus 4:22). John 3:16 does not use Strong’s 3625 which describes the whole world of mankind deceived by Satan as per Revelation 12:9, but 2889 which indicates
    1. an arrangement of things governmental and 2. Decoration both of which can only apply to Israel as the only government of any group of humans ever installed directly by God and as the wife that was to be His decoration, an ornament to glorify God, as wives are to their husbands; at least that was the idea. Jesus’ profound agony revolved around his one-way trip into death in the manner of ALL sacrificed animals. Yes, atonement sacrifices were animals, so was the first Passover sheep an animal. They never came back nor should or even could they for the thing redeemed, repurchased or ransomed not needing to be returned, requiring an impossible unsacrifice. Once a life has been forfeited for another, it can NEVER be reclaimed. Jesus the son of man and sacrificial lamb died in place of the one who was actually offered as per John 3:16 for the world of Israel, Abraham’s seed, so hat God’s promises to Abraham to ultimately bless all the families of the earth, past, present and future, can find their fulfilling substance in reality.
    There’s more to this, of course, but not here.
    Dieter

  2. Verearchela L. Malcolm says:

    I BELIEVE THAT THE MERE FACT OF IT ALL WOULD HAVE BEEN MOST HURTFUL IS THAT EVEN WHEN THE GREATEST SACRIFICE WOULD BE DONE THAT THERE WILL STILL BE PEOPLE THAT WOULD NOT BELIEVE,ACCEPT, HAVE FAITH IN, LOVE, OR HONOR HIM FOR THAT. SO FOR THE FEW IT’S WORTH IT BUT, FOR THE MANY THAT WILL NOT MAKE IT TO HEAVEN HOW MUCH MRE COULD ONE GIVE EVEN AFTER GIVING HIS LIFE? MISS. VEE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s