The “agony in the garden” truly begins the misery Jesus endured before dying on the Cross. After the supper, Jesus took some of the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. The term “gethsemane” is a slurred word brought into English from two Hebrew words Gat (Press) and Shemen (oil). Linguists have pointed out that it is taken to mean “the place where olive oil is pressed”. Olive presses are to be found in Israel and throughout the Mediterranean region.
The Gospels say that Jesus moved off to pray privately. Jesus brings His innermost feelings to His Father. In this conversation, Jesus seems to be showing fear of what He knows that He will endure. We cannot deny this fear, as to deny this fear is to deny Jesus His humanity. Fear appears, mainly, in two events.
First, Jesus prays; “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39). Biblical scholars agree that the term “cup” is a euphemism for “destiny” . Jesus knew the ordeal of the Cross, as all who grew up under Rome did, and was asking if there was another path through which He could accomplish Redemption. But He subordinated His will to the plan of Salvation set in motion by the Father. Crucifixion, as we have suggested in an earlier article (4/6), under Rome was the best way to show and spread the new Christian message.
Second, more telling, was the bloody sweat from Jesus. The Gospels say; “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44). This is not symbolic nor hyperbole. Significantly. this detail appears only in Luke. Luke was the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). If, indeed, he was a physician this detail would be important to him and would not go unnoticed. Moreover, this type of sweat is called “hematohidrosis.” According to Dr. Frederick Zugibe (Chief Medical Examiner of Rockland County, New York), it is well-known and he describes it as follows; “Around the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form.” Under the pressure of great stress, the vessels constrict. Then as the anxiety passes “the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture. The blood goes into the sweat glands.” As the sweat glands produce a lot of sweat, it pushes the blood to the surface – coming out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat. Following Dr. Zugibe, the stress of Jesus seemed to pass when He reconciled Himself fully to the misery awaiting Him.
According to the NIH; "[It is] characterized by blood oozing from intact skin and mucosa. Signs and symptoms include sweating blood, crying bloody tears, bleeding from the nose, bleeding from the ears, or oozing blood from other skin surfaces. The episodes are usually self-limiting. In some cases, the fluid appears to be blood tinged, while others resemble frank blood. It can occur on any part of the body, but most commonly appears on the face (ear, nose, and eyes). The cause is unknown. The bleeding is due to the rupture of the very small blood vessels of the skin (dermal capillaries). Some theories include increased vascular pressure leading to the passage of blood cells through the ducts of the sweat glands, inflammation of the vessels of the skin (vasculitis of dermal vessels), and intensified sympathetic activation. Some cases are associated with systemic disease, bleeding disorders, menstruation, excessive exertion, high blood pressure, fear and intense emotional stress. Treatment remains a challenge, and may include vitamin C, hemostatic drugs, anxiolytics, or antidepressants, and propranolol. Resolution of symptoms may occur spontaneously. Sometimes it seems to be caused by extreme distress or fear, such as facing death, torture, or severe ongoing abuse. It's probably where the term "sweating blood," meaning a great effort derives".
Jesus did not doubt or question His mission. Fear should not be mistaken for a lack of faith. Jesus grew up seeing men die in anguish through crucifixion. Such a terrifying and torturous ordeal would inspire fear in any man. Yet Jesus was able to subdue His human fear, and proceed with the mission of Salvation, opening the gates to the Kingdom of God by conquering sin and death.