Luke 22:44 – “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
The medical condition that described Jesus while he was in the garden is called hematidrosis. This is a condition that is extremely rare for people to experience, but is something that can happen. While being in anxiety, the body releases a chemical that attacks the capillaries in the body, which eventually leads to bleeding from the sweat glands. While the blood was probably not a bright red blood, as it would have been mixed with sweat as Jesus earnestly prayed, it was still blood. This medical condition is fascinating, especially as you consider the fact that Jesus experienced it before we had an official name for it.
Jesus experienced this condition before he endured the terrible suffering once he was arrested, flogged, and then crucified. He knew what was coming, and he was nervous, anxious, and scared of the pain that he was to endure. Even before this dark night, Jesus experienced difficulty. He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. He was shunned and mocked in his own town to the point where he was driven out, and he was repeatedly seen as a target by the religious leaders. People saw him as a celebrity and as a mere giver of gifts, and so they didn’t follow him because they loved him or truly appreciated him; they followed him because they wanted something from him. Jesus had his twelve who were mostly loyal to him (apart from Judas and the disloyalty of the disciples at Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion), but even still he lived very much a lonely life. The Father was his true love and true passion and true refuge.
Isaiah’s prophecy perfectly describes Jesus’ life. “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
What is truly incredible to me is the fact that none of us can say in our struggles that God doesn’t understand what we are going through. Think about it. He understood isolation and loneliness. He understood temptation. He understood suffering and physical pain. He understood stress, fear, anxiety, and worry. You think you’ve worried and stressed in ways that others haven’t? Think again! How many of you have worried to the point where your body actually released chemicals that attacked itself. Our God, in Jesus Christ, worried to that extent. What an incredible reality to consider. What a comforting idea to contemplate. Even though I may have a great anxiety over a variety of issues, my God understands. And because he understands, he is compassionate. He cares, because he gets it.
As a Father, I find within myself a fountain of compassion that wells up within me when I see my kids struggle with issues that I struggled with when I was their age. I get it; I understand. On the contrary, when I see my daughters struggle with more girly things that I never dealt with, I don’t find myself quite so compassionate, because I don’t get it.
In your struggles and worries and fears and anxieties, God gets it. He understands. He is compassionate to you. Run to him in all things.