How long was Jesus on the cross?


The Bible record

To be specific on how long Jesus was on the cross – that is, how many hours, we can turn to the gospels to find the answer.

Jesus Christ hanged on the cross for about six hours. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke use the Jewish method of measuring time while the gospel of John uses the Roman method because it was written near the close of the century, and chiefly for Gentile believers.

Using the Roman method of measuring time,  the apostle John documented that Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate took place, “about the sixth hour” (John 19:14). Counting from midnight, Jesus’ trial was about 6:00 A.M our time.

Using the Jewish method of measuring time, Mark wrote, “They crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him” (Mark 15:24–25). Counting from sunrise, Jesus’ crucifixion started at 9:00 A.M our time.

Also, using the Jewish method of measuring time, Matthew added that “from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45). The sixth hour is noon. The non-canonical Gospel of Peter (sec. 5; see p. 128) confirms that “it was noon, and darkness came over all Judaea.” Jesus had been upon the cross now for approximately three hours. The darkness continued from 12:00 noon to 3:00 P.M. till Jesus gave up the ghost (Matthew 27:50). Then, to make sure of Jesus’ death, a Roman soldier “pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out” (John 19:34).

How long was Jesus on the cross?

  • Pilate condemns Jesus at “about the sixth hour” or about 6:00 A.M. (Roman timing)
  • Jesus is crucified three hours later at “the third hour” or 9:00 A.M. (Jewish timing)
  • Darkness starts at “the sixth hour” or 12:00 P.M. while Jesus is hanging on the cross. (Jewish timing)
  • Jesus gave up the ghost at “the ninth hour” or 3:00 P.M. (Jewish timing).

Thus, Jesus hanged on the cross from 9:00 A.M. till 3:00 P.M., that is, six hours in total.

God’s infinite love

Love is true only when it is in action. God’s love for sinners led Him to give all that He had for their salvation (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The ultimate expression of divine love is the Father’s gift of His own Son, through whom it becomes possible for us to be “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). It is the essence of love to sacrifice self for others.

While God’s love enfolds all humanity, it directly benefits only those who respond to it. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). To become a child, of God is to enter into the covenant relationship (Hosea 1:10) by the new birth (John 3:3). For more on being born again –

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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