Sunday, March 24, 2013


"He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground."
-Luke 22: 44

Drops of blood. His sweat became like drops of blood. Luke uses fantastic imagery here. Sweat can be oppressive at times. To imagine it as blood instead of perspiration takes this oppression to another level.  Sweat can be the product of excessive effort or heat or a combination of both. It is a sign of our bodies being under some sort of intense pressure. Blood, however, is our life force. It is what gives our bodies life. Take away our blood, stop it from flowing, infect it with something and we die. We associate blood with warmth. We associate it with health. We obviously associate it with life. 

We do not associate it with sweat. 

So what does it mean to connect the two? It is worth noting that some Biblical footnotes mention that verses 43 (where an angel comes to Jesus's side to strengthen him) and 44 of Luke's 22nd chapter were not part of Luke's original writings but that these details had been added to the story later. It could be the result of good story telling and incorporate a small sense of a tall tale. With each telling, for effect, the yearning with which Jesus prayed that evening took on even greater detail. 

So, assuming that it is not historical fact but rather, just like it is written, a simile it is intended to help us understand Christ's passion at this moment during his Passion. He was praying with such intensity (think of the effort that you must expend in order to start sweating) that his sweat was so great, so profuse, so draining that it was as if blood were flowing out of his pores. 

This gives a whole new meaning to full, conscious and active participation. It also puts into perspective our prayer lives. God's only Son was praying so "fervently" that he was sweating like it was drops of blood. Jesus doubted. Jesus felt that he wasn't up for the task. He wanted something else to happen. These feelings of doubt, insufficiency and desire were so strong that his sweat was like blood. 

What's more is that he was expressing these feelings to his Father. 

First, following God's will for our lives is anything but easy; but it is worth it. Second, God wants to know our heart's greatest and deepest desires. Third, praying gives us strength to do God's will for our lives.

The last thing the world needs is another lukewarm Christian. Jesus himself said that he has "come to set the earth on fire" (Luke 12: 49). God needs us to find our passion. He needs us to discern His will for our lives. He needs us to pray to Him - bring Him everything. He will give us strength.

He will set our sparks of passion into raging fires, burning brightly in the light of His glory. He will animate us. He will enliven us. He will give purpose to each beat of our heart, each surge of blood flowing through our veins. 

He will fill us with passion.

Pray for it.