Words on paper

He fell prostrate on the ground, His arms laid at His sides.

Only a stone’s throw from His disciples, Jesus lay flat on the ground, agonizing in prayer to the extent that He was sweating great drops of blood. For the first of three times, He questioned His Father, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. [1]”

In the process of writing, there is a rule that says “Show, don’t tell.” Sorry Mr. Gibson, no movie [2], book, conversation, or even the Bible [3] could come close to depicting the physical and emotional pain that Christ suffered in Gethsemane [4], the Via Dolorosa, and on the Cross[5]. Even the Bible just tells of His trip to the Cross [6]. How can we learn of the magnitude and level of Christ’s love for us by simply reading of His ordeal in the Bible that tells us Jesus yielded up the ghost [7], as just words on paper?

Anyway, as Christ lay there, prostrate before His Father praying, his heart would have felt like it was jumping out of His chest. He no doubt felt a little dizzy and light-headed because of the blood that coursed through His veins. He could just about feel each pump as His temples throbbed, giving Him a headache that felt like it would split His head in two. He had stabbing pains and light pressure to His neck and face area. The muscles in His arms and legs were so tense and tight that they felt paralyzed. His chest ached because of the tension in His body as He contemplated what He was about to go through.

Because of the tightness in His chest cavity, He couldn’t fully expand His rib cage in order to breathe properly. Therefore, as He prayed, He had a tremendous shortness of breath. However, His humanness was not going to deny Him this last opportunity to communicate with His Father. Jesus began to sweat great drops of blood.

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. [Luke 22:44 KJV]

Hematohidrosis is a rare condition where capillaries that surround the sweat glands burst under severe stress, and bleed through the sweat glands, just as Luke 22:42 describes. Anyone in this state of emotional agony is surely going through an extreme case of stress and anguish as the Bible clearly points out [8]. There are a number of physiological manifestations of people going through extreme stress, agony, anguish, or grief to the point of sweating blood as I earlier and partially explained.

This was just Gethsemane. His ordeal had only begun and the worse was yet to come.

Don’t get me wrong, even reading in the Bible about that selfless act is unfathomable to me and I DO thank Him every day for His propitiation and sacrificial death. Nevertheless, how many of us, me included, have just read those words on paper, thanked Him, and went about our daily business while we continued eating our ice cream and flipping through channels?

Over the years, I have personally minimized those events. Oh, I’ve read the words alright many, many times, but only as words on paper in the Bible. I feel ashamed for taking Him for granted and for not studying about His ordeal on the way to the Calvary and His terrible death on the Cross. He did it for me.

Why didn’t I ask Christ while praying, “How did it affect you Lord? What actually happened to you? How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me?” A simple “Thank you Lord” just doesn’t cut it or even come close to an appropriate response, given the amount of suffering He gladly endured [9] for me. The amazing thing is He did it while I was yet a sinner [10]. His ordeal was NOT JUST WORDS ON PAPER. Those words actually happened to Him and they had consequences [11], to not only Him, but to us as well.

[1] Matthew 26:39, 42
[2] Although this came sort of close
[3] I know, because I’ve read the Bible through a number of times
[4] Gethsemane – Matthew 26: 36-52; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:40-53; John 18:1-11
[5] Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19
[6] Of course, the writers of the Bible weren’t knowledgeable enough to describe the effects on the body at the time
[7] Matthew 27:50b
[8] v44 of Luke 22
[9] Hebrews 12:2
[10] Romans 5:8
[11] While writing this blog, I ran across physician’s accounts of the physical and emotional pain that Christ actually suffered in Gethsemane and on the Cross. These doctor’s words were in stark contrast to just the words on paper, even in the Bible. My fellowship with Christ exponentially grew when I read what my Savior did for me. So much so, that I am writing a book Christ’s Road to death and our road to life.

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