“His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44
“The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation, so forced His frame to an unnatural excitement, that His pores sent forth great drops of blood which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin when it was able to crush the Saviour so that He distilled great drops of blood! This demonstrates the mighty power of His love. It is a very pretty observation of old Isaac Ambrose that the gum which exudes from the tree without cutting is always the best. This precious camphire-tree yielded most sweet spices when it was wounded under the knotty whips, and when it was pierced by the nails on the cross; but see, it giveth forth its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This sets forth the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need for the rulers to cry, ‘Spring up, O well’; of itself it flows in crimson torrents. If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Saviour in His agony; He is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of His agony driving His blood to the heart to nourish Himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours Him out upon the ground, pictures the fullness of the offering which He made for men.
Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which He passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’ Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield of the great tempter of your souls.”
-Charles H. Spurgeon
Passion encompasses so much—this one word means misery and joy, agony and ecstasy. It is the base of the starkest contrasts of emotions that somehow mold themselves together into a reactant of the soul. For most of us, passion is a give and take concept; we believe in something, and in turn we are rewarded. In Jesus’ hands, passion was His agony for the sake of His deepest affection. He suffocated Himself with a painful passion for love.
What creates such a huge difference between the passions that we feel and those of Jesus? I think the main dividend is that which is a constant presence in man—his heart’s pride. Passion is the envy of strangers and the pride of the indwelled. Is this a sinful pride? My inclination is to say “absolutely not”. To be desired by the onlooker, the object in his line of sight must be one of worth (at least on the earth). I think pride in the avenues of our literacy, understanding, and talent is what keeps the flame inside of us fervently burning. Please know, my reference is not to conceit, but to a humble and quiet pride that is for the provision of the soul’s thirst for satisfaction.
While this pride is, I believe, a blessing to man, its intentions are—true to nature—directed towards personal preservation. Sometimes, ecstasy begins to take the form of torture—physical deterioration may even occur because of ardency for a given subject. In these times, a few observations can be made; participation in the lives of others becomes distracted and can lose some of the potency of its sweetness in our hearts. In the tremulous panic for relief from the self inflicted sting of passion, our physics instinctively rush to the aid of the pain—a head buzz, a sprinting heartbeat, a flighty stomach. All of these are the chemical solutions of the soul and its zeal.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that all we can expect in and of ourselves is a rush of blood to the head—a temporary high in our perspiring hearts, weeping for the freedom to further secrete itself into perfect satisfaction.
And then, I saw Perfection…
His passion is for me; and instead of a balm for His own shattered being, His agony was the preparation for the creation of another gift for me…the choice of eternity spent in Zion—the paradise of His presence. What a painfully burning flame indwelled Christ in His passion! But His blood ran not to the aid of His heart—it poured outward in sacrificial passion.
And now I know…
One day, my passion will flow, undeterred by human boundaries. Beauty will hold no sting, and I will have no need for pride—Perfection will be mine.