How did the angel strengthen Jesus?


Luke 22:43,44
“And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.”

That is one powerfull image! How do you suppose the angel was able to strengthen Jesus? Also, how can we not receive the encouragement of the prayers of help to God through angels and saints?



Life is spiritual; it is in fact your soul.

So a spiritual being could reinforce the life in your body.

Consider that our LORD was in extremis just from fear and grief. (If you are sweating blood, your BP has gone so high that blood is escaping through your skin. You or I would die before getting there.)

I imagine the angel giving Him strength and life by contact, much like the mermaids in Hook giving Peter artificial-respiration after he walks the plank :slight_smile:



Maybe a reference to Isaiah 63?

For he said, Surely they are my people,
sons who will not deal falsely;
and he became their Savior.
In all their affliction he was afflicted,
and the angel of his presence saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

(Isaiah 63:8-9)

Also read about the angels strengthening people in 1 Kings 19 and the angels fighting for Israel in 2 Chronicles 32.

Matthew tells the story slightly different…

***Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? *(Matthew 26:52-53)

Angles in the Old Testament were not beautiful women with harps. They were messengers and fierce warriors.



Angels. I’ve heard there are different kinds.


You suggest it was a supernatural strength which the angel delivered to Jesus in order to sustain Him through the amount of stress He was subjecting Himself to?

This is interesting. how the source of all grace, and life is given power from a lesser creature. But that is in accordance with…

( Hebrews 2:5-9 )
5 "Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. 6 But someone has testified somewhere,

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
or mortals, that you care for them?
7 You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honor,
8 subjecting all things under their feet.”

Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, 9 but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."



Interesting question!


Jesus was alone in the garden, the apostles were sleeping. I’m sure the angel gave comfort when there wasn’t any from His followers.


To be exact, Luke doesn’t necessarily say that Jesus sweated blood - i.e. experienced hematidrosis (although admittedly that’s how many people historically read the passage): what he says is that “His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” You have the option of reading this literally (emphasis on the “drops of blood” ) or as a vivid simile, in other words He sweated so hard that His profuse sweat trickled down like globules of blood would. Either way, it shows how anxious Jesus is (after all, people sweat a lot when under stress).

P.S. The word agōnia in Greek was understood not so much as ‘excruciating pain’ as it does today, but as the ‘competition’ or ‘(intense) struggle’ of an athlete or warrior: the kind of preparation that athletes undergo before an athletic contest - we get our idea of ‘agony’ from this intense athletic training, which could indeed be excruciatingly painful. (Agōnia, quite literally, derives from agōn ‘contest’.) So when Jesus ‘agonized’ at Gethsemane, it meant that He was like an athlete preparing, ‘struggling’ hard before the start of a gruelling competition - His sweat (blood or not) is like the perspiration of athletes, a sign of their effort. Think something like Rocky or Jackie Chan here.

So in that sense, Jesus was ‘agonizing’, preparing for the big game. Just my personal image, I suppose then the angel (acting as God’s messenger) is like the coach who keeps watch over an athlete as he trains and struggles?


Point taken :wink:

So in that sense, Jesus was ‘agonizing’, preparing for the big game. Just my personal image, I suppose then the angel (acting as God’s messenger) is like the coach who keeps watch over an athlete as he trains and struggles?

Here too, in line with how Hebrews explains that the Son of Man was made lower than the angels for a time, yet the angel obeys the Father in ministering some kind of strength to Jesus.

One of my interests in this passage (and Hebrews), is that I sense it contains a link to understanding the faith in venerated prayer through Saints and Angels for God’s help. Im not trying to twist things to fit Cat Doctrine, though. So for now, I am content with appreciating the main point. That Jesus was emptying Himself of the gain and priviledge of Godliness, to provide our salvation!



Cornelius a Lapide thinks the angel strengthened Christ only outwardly by encouragingly speaking to Him.

“The praise and due adoration of Christ,” says Titus, “being premised,” he comforted Christ by speaking to Him outwardly and setting before Him the will and glory of the Father, and the rich fruit which would ensue, both to Christ Himself, to men, and to angels, from His Passion. For the angel could not affect the inner mind of Christ, nor immediately change His inner powers. And as He could only be tempted by Satan, externally, so He could only be comforted by the angel outwardly. He could not be taught nor illuminated by him, for He was above all angels, and from the first moment of His conception, was full of wisdom and knowledge.


Great reference!

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