Thursday, April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday ~ The Agony In The Garden

And there appeared an angel to Him from Heaven, strengthening Him. 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

I was always so moved by the story of The Agony In The Garden. I cannot even begin to imagine the anguish that our Savior suffered that night.

The following is an excerpt from “The Suffering of Jesus, Sparkling Gems from the Greek” by Rick Renner:

After Jesus was finished serving Communion to His disciples in the upper room, the Bible tells us that He went to the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. Knowing the Cross and the grave was before Him, Jesus felt a need to spend time in intercession so He might have the strength needed to face what lay before Him.

The mental and spiritual battle Jesus was experiencing that night in the Garden of Gethsemane was intense. In fact, Luke 22:44 says, “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.”

Today I want you to especially notice the word “agony” in this verse. It comes from the Greek word agonidzo, a word that refers to a struggle, a fight, great exertion, or effort. It is where we get the word agony — a word often used in the New Testament to convey the ideas of anguish, pain, distress, and conflict. The word agonidzo itself comes from the word agon, which is the word that depicted the athletic conflicts and competitions that were so famous in the ancient world.

The Holy Spirit used this word to picture Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal. This tells us that Jesus was thrown into a great struggle and fight that night. Knowing that the Cross and the grave were before Him, He cried out, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me.” (Luke 22:42).

The spiritual pressure that bore down upon Jesus’ soul was so overwhelming that the Bible says it was agonidzo, or agony. It was so strenuous that it involved all of Jesus’ spirit, soul, and body. He was in the greatest fight He had ever known up to that moment.

Jesus’ intense level of agony is depicted in the phrase, “he prayed more earnestly.” The word “earnestly” is the Greek wordektenes, a Greek word that means to be extended or to be stretched out. A person in this kind of agony might drop to the ground, writhing in pain and rolling this way and that way. This word ektenes presents the picture of a person who is pushed to the limit and can’t be stretched much more. He is on the brink of all he can possibly endure.

Jesus’ emotional state was so intense that it says “ his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” The “sweat” is the Greek word idros. The word “drops” is the Greek word thrombos, a medical word that points to blood that is unusually thickly clotted. When these two words are joined, they depict a medical condition called hematidrosis — a condition that occurs only in individuals who are in a highly emotional state.

Because the mind is under such great mental and emotional pressure, it sends signals of stress throughout the human body. These signals become so strong that the body reacts as if it were under actual physical pressure. As a result, the first and second layer of skin separate, causing a vacuum to form between them. Thickly clotted blood seeps from this vacuum, oozing through the pores of the skin. Once the blood seeps through, it mingles with the sufferer’s sweat that pours from his skin as a result of his intense inner struggle. In the end, the blood and sweat mix together and flow down the victim’s face like droplets to the ground.

This was the worst spiritual combat Jesus had ever endured up to this time. - Rick Renner

My God, I adore
My God, I believe
My God, I hope and pray
My God, I trust
My God, I love Thee.

Forgive those of us who do not adore
Who do not believe
Who do not hope and pray
Who do not trust
And who do not love Thee.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eileen,

    Thank you for covering the rest of Holy Thursday, you did a great job...I probably should have gone further.
    Good Friday is ever so hard for me and I have to do a reading that evening (I cry on Good Fridays, but I don't want to do it while I am reading!
    Also, thank you so deeply for all your wonderful comments...they make my day!