It was brought to my attention by a devotional that I read daily by Charles Spurgeon called: “Morning & Evening”. I have been meditating on it ever since, and as I was praying about what to share with you this week, I believe this is it. It is timely with Passover/Easter this coming weekend. Here is what it says:
“And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” (Luke 22:44 NASB)
As many times as I have read this, I must confess, that I have glossed over this precious and powerful moment in time and all that was happening. Christ reveals so much about Himself to us and the depth of His love for us.
If we translate this from the Greek definitions to the English, we can gain a clearer view of what was actually going on and helps us understand the extent of what He went through for us:
And He (Jesus) was passing into a state of severe mental struggles and emotions. He was praying to God more intently (determined or resolved; having the mind or will fixed on some goal) and more earnestly (seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention), and His *perspiration became as clots of blood [the atoning blood of Christ] descending upon the ground.
*Hematidrosis is the name of the actual physical condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress.
As I pondered all of this, I began to realize just how much I don’t understand Christ’s sacrificial love for me! To be honest with you, I am not sure that I can! But I want to share with you Charles Spurgeon’s insights about this passage of Scripture. Here are his words:
The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation, so forced His frame to an unnatural excitement, that His pores sent forth great drops of blood which fell to the ground.
>How tremendous must have been the weight of sin when it was able to crush the Savior so that He distilled great drops of blood.
>The mighty power of His love.
This sets forth:
>The voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a cut, blow or laceration yet to His body, the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech, or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously.
If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale, a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Savior in His agony; He is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of His agony driving His blood to the heart to nourish Himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours Him out on the ground pictures the fullness of the offering which He made for men.
Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which He passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “You have resisted unto blood striving against sin.” Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls.
While I so appreciate how Spurgeon speaks from this passage, I would like to share with you a few more observations specifically leading up to this verse that may help us grasp the intensity and truth of what Jesus was experiencing:
Jesus knew what was going on around Him and everything that was coming:
-Plotted and conspired against
All through the testimonies of the Gospel from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John we see the chief priests and elders of the people gossip, lie, slander, and unsuccessfully plot against Him using deception and trickery.
-Perfume & Preparation for burial
-The Devils’ Work of Bribery & Betrayal
-The Passover Preparations & Meal
-Jesus’ Blood (Life) of the Covenant-Communion-Command
“Love one another even as I have loved you. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
-Prediction of a Disciples Denial (3x’s)
-Partners in Prayer (Peter, James, and John- 3x’s Jesus asked them to keep watch and pray)
-Betrayed by the Kiss of a Friend & Arrested
-Sentenced without a crime but because of envy:
Conspired Against, Falsely accused, Wrongly condemned; ABUSED-Spat Upon, Slapped & Beaten, Stripped, Mocked, Pierced with a crown of thorns and later with a spear after death, Scourged (whipped as a public punishment), crucified (a criminal’s death)
As we read these chapters in the Holy Bible:
Matthew, chapters 26-28 Mark, chapters 14-16
Luke, chapters 22-24 John, chapters 12-21)
We see not only the extremely hard things going on around Jesus, we become witnesses to the prayers, character, and resolve of our Savior and Lord:
-THE SERVING SAVIOR (got up from supper washed the disciples feet)
-THE SAVIOR’S PRAYER FOR STRENGTH (Luke 22:31-32)
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”)
-THE SYMPATHETIC SAVIOR
(Jn. 14:1 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”)
-THE SURRENDERED SAVIOR’S PRAYER FOR ALL GENERATIONS
(John 17) before going to the garden
-THE SUFFERING SAVIORS PRAYER
Matt. 26:35-46 paints the picture in our minds as it unfolds before us in the Garden of Gethsemane
-THE SACRIFICED SAVIOR’S PRAYER (Forgiveness)
“But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Personally, these thoughts have humbled my heart and caused me to pause and reflect on that kind of AMAZING LOVE and willingness to give Himself for me, knowing that NOTHING else could save me. I have read, studied, wrestled, prayed, and settled in my heart that Jesus is who He says He is!
There are many questions that we may ask to help us understand. So here is an opportunity to gain true information to help guide you to a decision about what you believe about Jesus Christ. I encourage you to:
1) write down your questions
2) look for the answers as you read the chapters mentioned above
That’s it! After you have done that, here is a question that I have asked myself and now ask you:
What will you do with what you now know?