Gospel according to Luke (22:39-54)


Luke is the only Evangelist to refer to the “sweating of blood” caused by the extreme anguish of Jesus who, in that moment of darkness, received from the Father the comfort of an angel. It is accepted that the physical phenomenon of hematosis can be the result of an external physical suffering, and the evangelist, who according to tradition was himself a doctor, attributes this to Jesus' agony, i.e., to his “struggle” (this being the literal meaning of “agony”, from Greek) against the “power of darkness”. The “power of darkness”, which possessed those who had come to arrest Jesus, has a double meaning, literal and biblical. Jesus suggested that his arrest would come at night, with the aid of “darkness”, in order that the crowd of the following day would be unable to intervene on his behalf. Moreover, darkness is frequently used in the Bible as a metaphor for all that is evil and touched by sin. The third evangelist is also the only one to recount Jesus’ gesture of piety towards the high priest’s servant, healing the ear that had been wounded by the sword of one of his disciples.


39 Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 When he arrived at the place he said to them, "Pray that you may not undergo the test." 41 After withdrawing about a stone's throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, 42 saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done." 43 And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. 44 He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. 46 He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test." 47 While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas. He went up to Jesus to kiss him. 48 Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" 49 His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, "Lord, shall we strike with a sword?" 50 And one of them struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said in reply, "Stop, no more of this!" Then he touched the servant's ear and healed him.
52 And Jesus said to the chief priests and temple guards and elders who had come for him, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 Day after day I was with you in the temple area, and you did not seize me; but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness."
54 After arresting him they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest; Peter was following at a distance.

New American Bible 2002