The death of Jesus Christ, which occurred while he was on the cross, is described as a unique occurrence. Bible readers believe that this was no ordinary death and that he died to save people from sin. However, to understand the events until his death, many still ask, what time did Jesus die?
The Gospel of Matthew implies that Jesus Christ died at 3 pm. The Bible describes the event as one never seen before, where darkness filled the land from noon till three in the afternoon, when Jesus cried his last. Yet because of this painful death of the Son of God, believers agree that they were saved from their sins.
Where does the Bible state the time Jesus died? If he truly is the Son of God, didn’t he know the time he would die and save himself before then? Was his crucifixion about more than blasphemy? Let’s talk about the answers to these questions and more.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. Mark 15:22-25.
Other versions of the Gospel suggest that Jesus Christ was crucified in the third hour. According to the Jewish hour, this is at 9 in the morning. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all give the same accounts of the crucifixion.
Christian scholars explain that the Jewish day started at sundown, yet their hours were counted from sunup. This was from 6 am. Meaning according to the Bible, Jesus Christ was crucified in the third hour/at 9 am, darkness befell the land from the sixth hour, which was at noon, and he died in the ninth hour, which the Jews believe was at 3 pm. Remember that the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke use the Jewish method, as their accounts are all similar.
The Gospel of John shows a different account, as it uses the Roman times. It is similar to the time we use today, as the day starts at midnight. Scholars note a little discrepancy between the gospels of Mark and John when it comes to Jesus’ time of death. Here’s why the times appeared to be different in the two gospels.
It was the day of Preparation for the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. John 19:14-16.
The Bible implies that Jesus was tried at the sixth hour, which is at 6 am in Roman times. So around 9 am, he was placed on the cross. Therefore, John does not disagree with Mark. Jesus was tried three hours before he was put on the cross, and from noon, darkness befell the land till 3 pm. And this is the time the Gospel of John implies that Jesus died on the cross.
|Mark||John||Matthew & Luke|
|Used Jewish clock||Used Roman Clock||Used Jewish Clock|
|The day started from 6 am to 6 pm||The day started from midnight to midnight||The day started from 6 am to 6 pm|
|Third hour- 9 am
Ninth hour- 3 pm
|Third hour- 3 am
Sixth hour- 6 am
Ninth hour- 9 am
|Third hour- 9 am
Sixth hour -noon
Ninth hour- 3 pm
|Mark 15:25 ‘It was the third hour when they crucified him.’||John 19:14, ‘It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.’||Matthew 27:45, ‘From the sixth to the ninth hour, darkness came over all the land.’
Luke 23:45, ‘it was about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining.’
The Bible clearly states when Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up his spirit.
It was about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46.
The books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke give the exact time. These books explain that darkness filled the land from noon until 3 pm. And it is at 3 pm when Jesus drank wine vinegar from a sponge to quench his thirst that he cried his last, then bowed his head and died.
While the Bible does not prove that Jesus knew the exact hour of His death, He knew he would be betrayed and die. Mark 9: 30-32 says, ‘because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days, he will rise.” But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.’
He knew his death was coming, but it is believed that it had to happen, so he could not prevent it. He knew that by preventing this, the law would not be fulfilled-that sin be paid for by death. Jesus said that he and the father are one. This means he could have prevented the time of his crucifixion and death. However, he chose not to. God’s love for his people had to be shown by sacrificing his son for our sins. (John 3:16).
The following scriptures talk about the time Jesus died.
- Matthew 27:45-50, ‘From noon until three in the afternoon, darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately, one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
- Mark 15:33-37, ‘At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
- Luke 23:44-46, ‘It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.’
Believers understand that this event was painful yet necessary. More so, theologists suggest that the son of God knew this would happen. He openly spoke about it in earlier scriptures, revealing that one of his disciples would betray him. Despite this, he agreed to die at that hour so that all sinners would be free.
Therefore, Christians believe that Jesus Christ freed them from sin and that they should now only follow God and remain righteous. This is what Romans 3:23-26 suggests. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness because, in his forbearance, he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at present, to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.