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