Holy Week #1: Synchronizing the Gospels: What time did Jesus die on the cross?

What time was Jesus put on the cross? What time did Jesus die?
There seems to be some contradiction in the Gospels about the time of day Jesus was tried and crucified. John says Jesus was tried about the sixth hour and Mark says Christ was crucified at the third hour and died the ninth hour. This is easily explained to produce harmony in the Gospels…

John 19:14-16 states, “ And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he [Pilate] saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. … Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.” John is using the Roman method of telling time which began at midnight. (much like ours is currently) When John wrote his Gospel, the Temple had been destroyed in 70AD and the practicing of the Jewish ceremonial laws was non-existent. Therefore Jesus was sentenced to be crucified during the sixth hour after midnight, or just after dawn (6:00am) which was when the Sanhedrin brought Jesus to Pilate and demanded he be crucified. During this time, Barabas was released and Jesus condemned to be crucified.

The Gospel of Mark states “And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.” (Mr 15:25). Mark is using the Jewish method of telling time in which the day began at sunrise, or approx. 6:00am. Therefore Jesus was nailed to the cross in the third hour after sunrise, approximately 9:00am. It took approximately three hours, from 6:00am – 9:00am for Jesus to be condemned, the cross to be brought to Jesus, and be carried to Golgotha where he was nailed to it.

Mark continues to use the Jewish method of telling time when he said, “And when the sixth hour [noon] was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. [3:00pm] … And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost..” (Mark 15:33. 37) The Greek word used for darkness is “skotos” means “very dark”. The Greek word for “land” is “ges” and it and refers to, “ the whole earth, literally”. The entire earth became simultaneously darkened. This was prophesied by Amos, , “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:” (Amos 8:8)

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