Luke 22:44 – And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
MacArthur Study Bible: “This suggests a dangerous condition known as hematidrosis, the effusion of blood in one’s perspiration. It can be caused by extreme anguish or physical strain. Subcutaneous capillaries dilate and burst, mingling blood with sweat.”
What thoughts must go through our minds as we consider the agony of our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane? What horror! The perfect, sinless Son of God kneels in the garden under such a burden of personal, emotional pain that his entire body is racked with the grief. The one through whom all things were created (John 1:3) suffers such strain at the prospect of what is to come that he bursts his own blood vessels, mingling sweat and blood together. Such a condition can lead to passing out and even death. Yet there is the Lord, pressing on, praying, and suffering.
Ask yourself this: Why did the Lord Jesus suffer so? I will answer. The Lord Jesus suffered this unthinkable agony before the cross because he foresaw what was to come. He was about to bear the wrath of God for sins. Whose sins? My sins, that is whose sins.
Think this through, as you too can apply this to yourself. I am a sinner. I have rebelled against the perfect, loving, and holy Creator. I have turned my back on the one for whom I exist. I have rejected his offers of love, happiness, and joy. I have sought out my own pleasures in petty, worldly,, selfish ways. I have spoken wrongly. I have thought wrongly. I have desired wrongly. I have acted wrongly. I have made myself guilty of all sins, as I have broken the law of God (James 2:10; Romans 3:23). I have laid up for myself judgment. I have earned God’s wrath. I deserve eternal death and an infinite punishment in hell. I deserve to be damned.
That damnation that I deserve, that hell I should have suffered, is what stood before the Lord Jesus as he prayed in the garden. He chose, by his unmatched love and incomprehensible compassion, to stand in the gap for me. He knew that, were I to suffer the punishment that I deserved for my sin, I would spend eternity in hell and never escape. He also knew that he, the infinitely perfect and righteous Son of God, could take my punishment in my place. He would suffer all the punishment that I deserve, an infinite amount, and manage to do so in a finite amount of time. He would die, and yet conquer death through his overpowering righteousness.
Jesus looked forward to the punishment that should have destroyed me, and he knew that he would willingly take that upon himself. That agony, that awful and horrible agony of the fury of God for all my evil, that is what Jesus faced in the garden. It was enough to strain his body past the point of normal human endurance. The horror of the wrath of Almighty God stood before Jesus, a wrath he never deserved, and he knew that he would willingly walk into it. Jesus knew that he would be my substitute, taking my place and paying my penalty; That is what stood before Jesus.