Luke 23:44, Jesus in Agony

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

//Scholars continue to argue about the Gnostic bent of John’s Gospel. Is John a Gnostic text or not? John’s Gospel was embraced by Gnostic strands before it ever made headway into traditional Christianity.

But even with the other Gospels, the dividing line between Gnostic and Catholic (traditional) Christianity is not so clear. Luke insists, for example, that the Kingdom of Heaven has already arrived. It is “within you.” This better jibes with Gnostic thinking than futuristic Christianity. Another feature of the Gnostic Christ is the inability to feel pain, and Luke, throughout the entire ordeal of Jesus’ death, gives no hint that Jesus is ever in agony—save today’s verse, where sweat falls to the ground like drops of blood.

Problem is, this verse is not in all variants of Luke. And worse, we don’t know which is more original: the version of Luke with agony, or the version without agony. Its addition, or subtraction, radically alters the picture of Jesus between Gnostic (where Jesus is non-corporeal, sent from heaven) and traditional (Jesus is of the flesh, able to feel pain). Which is the original flavor of Luke’s Gospel? We don’t know.

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