[Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.] Luke 22:43-44
Did you find the “something else” that we need to address? The verses before us today should be bracketed, italicized or footnoted in your Bible to suggest that there is a question mark over these two verses. I have been taught to address any textual issues first. Establish the text before working out what it means. Should these verses be in our Bibles or not?
Several important Greek manuscripts p75א 1 A B N T W 579 1071* along with diverse and widespread versional witnesses lack Luke 22:43-44
In addition, the verses are placed after Matt 26:39 by Ë13. Floating texts typically suggest both spuriousness and early scribal impulses to regard the verses as historically authentic.
These verses are included in א *2 D L Θ Ψ 0171 Ë1 and in the writings of Church Fathers: Justin Martyr, Iraneus, Hippo, Eusebius..
However, a number of manuscripts mark the text with an asterisk or obelisk, indicating the scribe’s assessment of the verses as inauthentic.
At the same time, these verses generally fit Luke’s style. Arguments can be given on both sides about whether scribes would tend to include or omit such comments about Jesus’ humanity and an angel’s help. Even if the verses are not literarily authentic, they are probably historically authentic. This is due to the fact that this text was well known in several different locales from a very early period. Since there are no synoptic parallels to this account and since there is no obvious reason for adding these words here, it is very likely that such verses recount a part of the actual suffering of our Lord. Nevertheless, because of the serious doubts as to these verses’ authenticity, they have been put in brackets. For an important discussion of this problem, see B. D. Ehrman and M. A. Plunkett, “The Angel and the Agony: The Textual Problem of Luke 22:43-44″ C B P45 (1983): 401-16. [From Net Version]
For more explanation see Gem 932
Gill says of the authenticity of the text: there should be no objection to the truth and credibility of this fact, [because] it is not mentioned by the other evangelists, since it is no unusual thing with them for one to record that which is omitted by another. Nor should there be an objection because it is missing in some Greek and Latin copies. Jerome and Hilary observe since it was expunged, either by some orthodox persons, who weakly thought it might seem to favour the Arians, who denied that Christ was of the same impassible nature with the Father; or rather by the Armenians, or by a set of men called “Aphthartodocetae”, who asserted the human nature of Christ to be incorruptible.
It is certain that these verses are in most ancient and approved copies, and in all the Oriental (Eastern) versions, and therefore [it should] be retained.
We still need to address the question I put to you yesterday: Did Jesus sweat blood or was His sweat just like blood?
Here is some input from the ancient “experts”:
Justin Martyr and Irenaeus [felt it should not be removed because it was] so strange and unusual [to sweat like that. [Some it seems] discredited the historical nature of it for that reason.
Henry – There is some dispute among the critics whether thissweatis onlycompared todrops ofblood,being muchthickerthan drops of sweat commonly are, the pores of the body being more than ordinarily opened, or whetherrealblood out of the capillary veins mingled with it, so that it was in colour like blood, and might truly be called abloody sweat;the matter is not great. Some reckon this is one of the times when Christ shed his blood for us,for without the shedding of blood there is no remission.Every pore was as it were a bleeding wound, and his blood stained all his raiment. This showed thetravail of his soul.He was in the open air, in a cool season, upon the cold ground, far in the night, which, one would think, had been enough to strike in a sweat; yet now he breaks out into a sweat, which bespeaks the extremity of the agony he was in.
Clarke – Some have thought that the meaning of the words is, that the sweat was so profuse that every drop was as large as a drop of blood, not that the sweat was blood itself: but this does not appear likely. There have been cases in which persons in a debilitated state of body, or through horror of soul, have had their sweat tinged with blood.
Gill suggests to sweat blood is unusual. This might be occasioned by his vehement striving and wrestling with God in prayer, since the account follows immediately upon that; and might be owing to his strong cries, to the intenseness and fervour of his mind. Gill thinksthat the pores of Christ’s body were so opened, that along with sweat came out blood, and as it fell on the ground, it was so congealed by the cold in the night, that it became really clots of blood upon the earth.
Dr. Meadfrom Galen observes,“Cases sometimes happen in which, through mental pressure, the pores may be so dilated that the blood may issue from them; so that there may be a bloody sweat.”
Aristotle observed that the blood sometimes becomes sanious, and so serous, in so much that some have been covered with a “bloody sweat”.
Bartholinus relates, from Actuarius, a story of a young man that had little globes of blood upon his skin, by sweat, through the heat of the sun, and a laborious journey.
Thuanus (a credible historian) reports 1) of a governor of a certain garrison, who being taken captive, and threatened with death, was so affected that he sweat a “bloody sweat” over his body. 2) of a young man of Florence, who being, by the order of Pope Sixtus the Fifth, condemned, as he was led along to be executed, through the vehemence of his grief discharged blood instead of sweat, all over his body
Diodorus Siculus links it to serpents whose bites cause very painful deaths and also “a flow of sweat like blood”.
Others make mention of a kind of a serpent called “Haemorrhois” which, when it bites a man, causes him to sweat blood
Clotzius thought it arose from the angels comforting and strengthening him.
It could be metaphorical but a normal reading of the passage suggests it should be taken literally. There are no outside sources available to make us think that Jesus did not literally sweat blood.
There is a condition called Hematidrosis which seems accurately described by these words of Luke. Remember that Luke was a physician. He should have been aware of the symptoms and have correctly interpreted them. The fact that Luke recorded it gives the literal interpretation more credence. It doesn’t seem likely that Luke would be in error on this point.
Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.George Carlin
The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.Norman Schwartzkopf
It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place…that’s when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.David Hume
Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change.Jesse Jackson
Sweat plus sacrifice equals success.Charles Finley
You are not entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.Ian Vail