In John 19 verses 33-36, it is written that

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken

Modern medical experts explain the "blood and water" to actually be separated hemoglobin and plasma, the two major constituents of whole blood, which separate after death.

Then Luke, a physician himself, wrote in his gospel account, chapter 22, verse 44:

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat became as great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Key words: "egeneto ho hidros ... haimotos" - "became the sweat ... blood" in the Interlinear.

So the question is in the title: Could Jesus have sweated actual blood in the garden of Gethsemane?

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    This question appears to be off topic since it asks for a medical answer. – Kris Oct 23 '17 at 19:30
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    christianity.stackexchange.com/q/26736/23657 This related question and the answers may interest you. – Kris Oct 23 '17 at 19:33
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    Chromhidrosis deserves an honorable mention here. – Zenon Oct 23 '17 at 21:34
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about medicine, not Christianity. – Lee Woofenden Oct 24 '17 at 0:06
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    "Christianity rests on the validity of Scripture" -- That is hardly a universally held position. – bradimus Oct 24 '17 at 18:52

Yes. Modern medical knowledge confirms the condition and the cause reported by the physician Luke using the word egeneto to describe how sweat became blood.

Turns out that recently the National Institutes of Health issued this report:

A Curious Case of Sweating Blood (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)


Hematohidrosis is a very rare condition in which an individual sweats blood. It may occur in an individual who is suffering from extreme levels of stress. Various causative factors have been suggested like component of systemic disease, vicarious menstruation, excessive exertion, psychogenic, and unknown causes. Fear and intense mental contemplation are the most frequent causes.

Taken in context it is clear he was certainly in "intense mental contemplation."

In studying the Interlinear of this section, the answer seems to be that his sweat becomes blood drops:

Luke 22 Interlinear

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Written by the physician Luke, "egeneto ho hidros ... hiamotos" - "became the sweat...blood"

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  • Interlinear says became the sweat became as great drops of blood. It is describing the way the perspiration beaded and dropped from Jesus flesh thus giving the reader a word picture of the profuse nature of this sweating. The text does not attempt to state that blood dropped from the pores of his flesh Your question might be whether fit on BHSE – Kris Oct 24 '17 at 21:46
  • "The text says, "His sweat was LIKE drops of blood", which strongly suggest his sweat was not blood, but he was sweating so profusely that it was dripping off of him; resembling someone who had been severely wounded and was dripping blood. If someone fell into a pond and sunk to the bottom of that pond and I told you, "he sunk to the bottom like a rock", does that mean when he sunk to the bottom... he became a rock?" Quoted from an answer on BHSE to a very similar question that did very well on that site. – Kris Oct 24 '17 at 22:06
  • hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/320/… Check it out very good stuff – Kris Oct 24 '17 at 22:11

Is it correct to conclude that what is described in Luke 22:44 is a case of the medical phenomenon called hematidrosis ( bloody sweat)?

As is mentioned in @Nigel J comment the verse is drawing a comparison of how Jesus had sweat that dropped like blood. It is describing the action of the dripping sweat not saying that the sweat was tinged with blood or had some coloration like blood. Certainly a stretch to say the verse is indicative of Jesus' sweat containing certain fractional components found in the chemical make up of blood.

Might Jesus have experienced stress levels high enough to produce hematidrosis? Perhaps. Discussion the word sweat as found in scripture a research volume said:

Jesus in Gethsemane. Concerning Jesus Christ when in Gethsemane on the final night of his earthly life, Luke 22:44 states: “But getting into an agony he continued praying more earnestly; and his sweat became as drops of blood falling to the ground.” The writer does not say that Jesus’ sweat was actually mingled with his blood. He may only have been drawing a comparison, perhaps indicating that Christ’s perspiration formed like drops of blood or describing how the dripping of Jesus’ sweat resembled a drop-by-drop flowing of blood from a wound. On the other hand, Jesus’ blood may have exuded through his skin, being mixed with his sweat. Bloody sweat has reportedly occurred in certain cases of extreme mental stress. Blood or elements thereof will seep through unruptured walls of blood vessels in a condition called diapedesis, and in hematidrosis there is an excreting of perspiration tinged with blood pigment or blood, or of bodily fluid mingled with blood, thus resulting in the ‘sweating of blood.’ These, of course, are only suggestions as to what possibly took place in Jesus’ case.


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  • While I do not recognize commentaries as being equivalent to Scripture, I am upvoting this answer because it is the reason for the OP - to stimulate discussion.. – SDsolar Oct 24 '17 at 17:32

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