Monday, October 4

Did Jesus Really Sweat Drops of Blood?

While this question may not be the most prominent in our minds, and some may have never noticed, it is nevertheless something I feel ought to be discussed, and so we shall. You may have seen Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, and the scene in the Garden where he sweats drops of blood. Did Jesus really sweat drops of blood? Let's investigate. (Photo Credit to: Passion of the Christ, 2004)

Luke 22:44 says, "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." (NIV) Jesus was praying in the Garden before his crucifixion. Luke, the writer of this gospel, was a earnest and trusted physician, and would probably know what he was talking about.

Dr. Henry M. Morris put it in these words, "Luke is also the only gospel writer to mention the bloody sweat, possibly because of his interest as a physician in this rare physiological phenomenon, which spoke eloquently of the intense spiritual agony Jesus was suffering…" This medical condition is called "hematohidrosis." While it is a rare condition, it is well-known, and there are several documented cases.

What happens is, around the sweat glands you find multiple vessels that are in a net-like shape, and under pressure, say stress for example, the vessels constrict. As Anxiety passes, the blood vessels "dilate to the point of rupture," and the blood proceeds to go into the sweat glands. Since the glands are producing a lot of swear, blood is pushed towards the surface, and the drops come out as blood mixed with sweat.

I apologize if that sounds disturbing, but it is the truth - Jesus was under great emotional and physical stress. He was in intense agony - he knew every precise detail of what was about to happen to him, and that caused him a lot of stress. He knew that he was about to face one of the most grueling and agonizing forms of punishment ever. 

Since he was using human form, he would feel all of it. But the real reason for the stress probably wasn't because of physical pain, but because of sin. Even Aristotle and Theophrastus made mention of this medical condition. This is what the scholar Henry Alford had to say: "The intention of the Evangelist seems clearly to be, to convey the idea that the sweat was (not fell like, but was) like drops of blood;—i.e., coloured with blood,—for so I understand the hosei, as just distinguishing the drops highly coloured with blood, from pure blood…."

"To suppose that it only fell like drops of blood (why not drops of any thing else? And drops of blood from what, and where?) is to nullify the force of the sentence, and make the insertion of haimatos not only superfluous but absurd (1874, 1:648, italics and parenthetical items in orig.; cf. Robertson, 1934, p. 1140)."

Jesus never sinned - keep that in mind. However, due to the knowledge that within mere hours he would have all of the sins of humanity - ever sin that has been, is being, and will be committed would be placed upon him during those hours of agony. Since what he would endure was the equivalent to a form of hell for the lost souls, he knew God the Father would have to briefly turn his back on him.

This all happened so that what was written about him by the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled: "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:5,7 ) This was fulfilled.

So were the drops of sweat explainable by medical means... or was it something supernatural? We may never know, but what we can tell is this: if the drops were not some supernatural occurrence, it can easily be tested through medical research. I trust that, while this has been short, that at the same time it has been informative and insightful. God bless, and take care. Troy Hillman


  1. wow - fascinating dialogue. in my mind it's semantics - the symbology doesn't really matter (like different monotheistic religions arguing over whose symbol is correct - sounds like a monty python skit lol). i found this on a google search because about six months ago i started to sweat profusely (out of only armpits) and only during the day (any place, all different temps, etc). it either prompted or was timed with a spiritual quest. i'm tempted to think i've been blessed because since then i have never been in a bad mood (or experiencing a negative emotional set point) for more than a few seconds. from a medical perspective passive sweating releases b-endorphins. makes you wonder. i pray one day all will be revealed (and i'm sure it will). god bless all of you.

  2. That is very interesting! From that standpoint, I would say it was a blessing rather than a curse, a positive rather than a negative. Thank you for sharing, and may God bless you!

  3. Jesus was no ordinary man, he was fully in touch with his human side more than any man could ever be. Remember he is the second Adam full of life, not born in sin or shaped in iniquity like us today. So being able to see his future ie his trial, scourging and crucifixion, he felt every blow every whip the nails piercing his flesh before it happened, and on top of that all the sins of the world from Adam to present day and into the future as long GRACE is applied to this generation. So I firmly believe his sweat was drops of blood atoning for us.

  4. Amen. Thank you, Will. Indeed we need to remember that even though Jesus is also God, he took on human nature, being both God and man, to be sin for us so that in his sacrifice, through the trail of blood, we may have life. I most definitely agree with you.

  5. It doesn't matter how Jesus sweated for us. The unconditional truth behind his self sacrifice was to save us all people.

  6. Correct, I certainly agree. However, the question has been posed, and as an apologist, I try to answer these type of questions, no matter how trivial. As it seems you are, I am most definitely thankful for what Christ did for us. May God bless!

  7. I've been on a run on this subject because
    how does anyone know what Jesus said and what he 'sweated' if no one was there to witness it? The others fell asleep, so how do we even know what was said at that time? Yet it is written 'Thy will not mine be done. If it be Your Will, Let this cup pass before me.." How does anyone know what transpired since no one was present? Since no one was, we can't know if it was "like" blood or literally blood. The only conclusion would be a Special Revelation that no one refers to. One option is that perhaps they just "Knew" through the Holy Spirit later on? Maybe he told them after the Resurrection. It's never clear how Luke or Matthew can write of such things when they weren't there to witness it.Here is something interesting, when I went to post, the Bot to confirm the post came up with an entry to enter "And IThree" ! :-)