If you knew that you were about to be tortured to death and there was nothing to be done about it, AND you never did anything to earn your execution, you would be pretty unhappy, yes? Well, Jesus our Lord was facing that very thing, plus he was going to be cut off from the rest of the godhead for some time, while he took our sin and punishment as his own. It is recorded that he was so stressed out about what was about to happen to him, he sweat blood (vs. normal sweat*) as he prayed.
This is the third in a continuing series of serious disagreements I have with a speaker I heard yesterday. This time, he posited that Jesus actually suffered a ruptured heart during his grief in Gethsemane. He told his friends that he was “exceeding sorrowful unto death” and our speaker took this (obviously?) metaphorical statement literally. The idea here, we were told, was that Jesus was actually dying from sorrow right there in the garden of Gethsemane. The speaker then read from another place in the Bible where the Lord was talking and claimed that a heart like melted wax in his bowels is the Bible’s way of saying Jesus’ heart had burst.** So then our speaker said, after his heart burst an angel showed up and miraculously healed Jesus so he could go on to die another day. Those following the sequence may note the sweating of blood happened after the angelic visit, but ok the man was trying to say Jesus was fatally wounded of a literally-broken heart, and he was healed by the angel. Then, the next day when Jesus was stabbed by a spear to see if he were dead, the blood and water that gushed out were actually pericardial fluid and blood that were left over from the previous night’s near-fatal sorrow/healing incident.
Hold on there.
Let us treat the Bible reasonably and take the text at face value, enlightened by a bit of common sense! ***
Jesus said he was exceeding sorrowful unto death. Exceeding sorrow is certainly understandable. “Unto death” is open for interpretation but I can think of two meanings off the top of my head, neither of which involves myocardial rupture. Jesus could have been referring to the demise he knew he would suffer the next day: “I’m really sad I’m about to die”. He could also have been exaggerating a little: “I’m so sad I feel like I’m dying from sadness”. I think the latter is more likely but I could go with you on either. Either of these fits the plain text without having to go off into what the Bible does NOT tell us.
Then we go to the spear-piercing and blood-and-water coming out. If God’s angel healed Jesus’ heart, why didn’t he clean up the mess left over in Jesus’ ‘bowels’? Whoever heard of God performing an incomplete healing? You are saying that my God would only do half a job on his SON? Really? Really? You think this is more likely than hypovolemia and pericardial/pleural effusion? Really? I know Occam’s Razor doesn’t necessarily apply to miracles but come on! They beat and tortured the Lord so that he was hypovolemic, had one or another kind of effusion going on, and when they poked him the clear liquid from the effusion looked like water mingled with the (expected) blood.
On to the ‘heart like wax’ part. You have felt this yourself. Think about when you realized your boy/girlfriend was about to dump you. Think how you felt, watching your car crash into somebody else’s. Think about the time you went to the top of a tall building/cliff/whatever and looked aaaaaaaaalllll the way down and the wind gave you just a little push. Jesus was sad and then some, is all – you don’t have to get fancy here. The Bible was not written so you would have to twist yourself in knots to understand it.
Our supposedly educated speaker last night was on quite a roll of making things up out of the bible, then bending the scriptures to suit the point he was allegedly making. This is not something I ever thought I would hear in the setting where I heard it, and the host is going to be given these essays when I am through writing them up, with a request that this speaker be disallowed in the future.
*yes, this is a thing.
**Having left aside for the moment the fact that the bowels are separated from the thoracic cavity. Our speaker took one medical fact as literally true when expressed in figurative speech (heart like wax), but the next mention of anatomy in the same sentence is totally ignored when referred to directly (midst of the bowels). This is rather torturous way of finding a point when there is none.
***and a bit of medical knowledge