In his memorable speech, King Benjamin quoted
words delivered to him by an angel concerning the coming of Jesus Christ and the infinite
Atonement he would perform: This passage seems to anticipate a similar
detail recorded in the gospel of Luke: There are two key questions that need to be resolved when interpreting these passages. First, the Greek grammar of Luke’s gospel is not entirely clear whether it is describing Jesus literally sweating blood or sweating as if he was profusely bleeding. Scholars have plausibly argued for both readings. While it cannot be definitively proven, this passage in Luke might be describing the known but rare medical condition called hematohidrosis, where an individual literally sweats blood out of severe stress or anxiety due to unimaginable pain or the fear of death. This would be consistent with how Jesus is portrayed in the gospel accounts as anguishing over the horror of torture and crucifixion that awaited him, as well as agonizing under the stress of bearing the sins of the world. The second issue revolves around the contradictory evidence for this passage in early manuscripts of the New Testament. Many biblical scholars have come to question the authenticity of these verses and their originality to Luke’s gospel based on evidence from ancient manuscripts. As one scholar summarized the issue, While there is manuscript evidence for the ancient authenticity of these verses being original to Luke’s gospel, it is not conclusive enough to be entirely sure. Latter-day Saints, however, have additional scriptures that tip the scales in favor of these verses being authentic and also describing a real physiological phenomenon. The Book of Mormon clearly describes Jesus sweating blood “from every pore”. So too does the Doctrine and Covenants, in which Jesus himself speaks of having suffered so intensely that it Restoration scriptures therefore help clarify some of the ambiguities described above. What stands unambiguously clear is that Restoration scripture and latter-day prophets have testified, alongside the New Testament gospels, that Jesus endured unimaginable pain as He performed the infinite atoning sacrifice. As Elder Jeffrey
R. Holland testified: But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust that He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christ’s determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, then finally and mercifully, it was “finished.” Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness, and despair.