There are many miracles in the Bible. Some really big ones that are over the top like the Worldwide Flood, the 10 plagues of Egypt, and the parting of the Red Sea are examples. As Bible-believing Christians, we read these accounts and simply believe them, as we should. God is after all, God.
Jesus performed many miracles — everything from turning water into wine to walking on water.
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25, KJV).
The Apostle John says Jesus performed many more miracles that are not recorded in Scripture. Yet, of all the many amazing things that we read about, there is one ‘unusual’ passage that I always wondered about. It’s not a miracle per se, but something that stood out as not being normal.
“And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the Mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:39-44).
While having trusted what was written about the intense prayer that Jesus went through, it still seemed to me to be metaphorical, or (Lord, forgive me) almost an exaggeration. Some translations even imply that it was not really blood, just ‘like’ it. But God does not need to exaggerate.
I’ve worked so hard on hot days outside on landscaping, and in the attic in coveralls, that I often thought the huge drops I sweat were as bad as what Jesus experienced. Often that verse has come to my mind when I thought I could croak on the spot, wondering if Jesus sweat this badly while working as a carpenter.
But drops of blood? How is that even possible? I don’t believe that Jesus had any sort of medical condition. I’ve read that perhaps He suffered a heart attack while praying intensely. But how does that explain blood dripping from his forehead?
Well, I stumbled across an article that reveals that people can sweat blood. There is a medical label attached to regular sufferers: hematohidrosis.
Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article and the link to the source:
“Doctors say the patient had a three-year history of bleeding. There was no obvious trigger, and the spontaneous bleeding could happen while she slept and during physical activity. More intense bleeding happened when the patient was under stress, with episodes lasting anywhere between one and five minutes.
“She found one case in the early 1600s of a 12-year-old Swiss boy with a high fever who sweated blood through his shirt; and then, a case of a young Belgian condemned to death who was so distressed, he sweated blood.”
Again, I don’t believe that this happened to Jesus on a regular basis, and he was not ill. But His prayer encounter with God the Father was so intense that he did sweat real drops of blood. He was carrying the weight of the World. And He was about to prove that there is No Greater Love in the greatest miracle of all: His Resurrection.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
How intense that prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane must have been! Jesus is so many things: bold, passionate, caring, intense, and I bet He was really funny too, which brings me to my parting thought. I believe that the Lord Jesus is even more excited, anxious, and eager to come for His Church as some of us are about His Return.
Come soon, Lord Jesus.
Are you ready? Are you watching?