In Luke 22:44 Luke records that Jesus sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. I have read a medical account of the crucifixion in a particular Christian handbook. In there it says that Jesus actually had blood mixed in with his sweat -- that's how intense his prayer was. It also says the only other known record of such a thing happening was during the Civil War, when people were having limbs amputated without any anesthetic. I have a couple of questions about this passage. First: If Jesus withdrew about a stone's throw away from the other disciples, who would be able to tell what his sweat looked like? Not to mention the fact that it was dark and all the disciples fell asleep. Second, Luke was not actually at the garden; he is relying on someone else's view. The actual wording of the passage ("like drops of blood") seems to be a figure of speech (like "as strong as an ox" or "quick like a fox"). How can we say with any certainty that he actually did have blood mixed in with his sweat? How do we know it's not just an analogy? -- Jeff
Well said, Jeff. I myself used to teach that Luke was describing the rare phenomenon of haematridosis¸ or bloody sweat. Yet there is nothing in the text that says this. "Sweat like blood" seems to refer to the way in which the sweat was pouring from Jesus" body. Have you ever been cut deeply? Did the blood drip out fast? I believe this I the way the sweat was falling to the ground--as though issuing from a deep wound. The doctrine of the bloody sweat may preach well, but is it warranted by the text? I think not.
Please see my version of the medical account of the Crucifixion in Till the Nets are Full (formerly Shining Like Stars).
As for how the others would have known, recall that after his resurrection Jesus appeared and taught his disciples for a period of 40 days (Acts 1). There was plenty of time for the Holy Spirit to fill them in on everything they needed to know. In the same way, the Lord often appeared to the apostle Paul, whose traveling companion was Luke. Presumably Paul was a significant source for Luke as he wrote his two contributions to the New Testament.
This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2003. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.