After Jesus and his disciples had observed the Passover meal in an upper room in a home in southwest Jerusalem, they traveled to the Mount of Olives, northeast of the city. (Owing to various adjustments in the calendar, the years of Jesus' birth and death remain controversial. (29) However, it is likely that Jesus was born in either 4 or 6 BC and died in 30 AD. (11,29) During the Passover observance in 30 AD, the last Supper would have been observed on Thursday, April 6 [Nisan 13], and Jesus would have been crucified on Friday, April 7 [Nisan 14]. (29) ) At nearby Gethsemane, Jesus, apparently knowing that the time of his death was near, suffered great mental anguish, and, as described by the physician Luke, his sweat became like blood. (1)
Although this is a very rare phenomenon, bloody sweat (hematidrosis or hemohidrosis) may occur in highly emotional states or in persons with bleeding disorders. (18,20) As a result of hemorrhage into the sweat glands, the skin becomes fragile and tender. (2,11) Luke's descriptions supports the diagnosis of hematidrosis rather than eccrine chromidrosis (brown or yellow-green sweat) or stigmatization (blood oozing from the palms or elsewhere). (18,21) Although some authors have suggested that hematidrosis produced hypovolemia, we agree with Bucklin (5) that Jesus' actual blood loss probably was minimal. However, in the cold night air, (1) it may have produced chills.
Soon after midnight, Jesus was arrested at Gethsemane by the temple officials and was taken first to Annas and then to Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest for that year. (1) Between 1 AM and daybreak, Jesus was tried before Caiaphas and the political Sanhedrin and was found guilty of blasphemy. (1) The guards then blindfolded Jesus, spat on him, and struck him in the face with their fists. (1) Soon after daybreak, presumably at the temple, Jesus was tried before the religious Sanhedrin (with the Pharisees and the Sadducees) and again was found guilty of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death. (1,5)
Since permission for an execution had to come from the governing Romans, (1) Jesus was taken early in the morning by the temple officials to the Praetorium of the Fortress of Antonia, the residence and governmental seat of Pontius Pilate, the procurator of Judea. However, Jesus was presented to Pilate not as a blasphemer but rather as a self-appointed king who would undermine the Roman authority. (1) Pilate made no charges against Jesus and sent him to Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Judea. (1) Herod likewise made no official charges and then returned Jesus to Pilate. (1) Again, Pilate could find no basis for a legal charge against Jesus, but the people persistently demanded crucifixion. Pilate finally granted their demand and handed over Jesus to be flogged (scourged) and crucified. (McDowell (25) has reviewed the prevailing political, religious, and economic climates in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' death, and Bucklin (5) has described the various illegalities of the Jewish and Roman trials.)
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