555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

230. How Many Hours Was Jesus on the Cross?




It is uncertain how long Jesus lived after he was nailed to the cross. At the longest it could not have been more than six hours. Mark says (15:25), "It was the third hour (or nine o'clock), and they crucified him"; and again (15:34), "And at the ninth hour (3 p. m.), Jesus cried," etc. John, on the other hand, describing the proceedings before Pilate (19:14), says: "It was about the sixth hour." But John was probably reckoning the hours by the Roman method from midnight, which, allowing for the subsequent judicial farce and the journey to Golgotha, would bring him into accord with Mark. Matthew also (27:46), represents Jesus as being alive at the ninth hour (three o'clock). Matthew, Mark and Luke, referring to the darkness, say that it lasted from the sixth hour (noon), till the ninth hour (3 p. m.), but it does not appear to have begun until Jesus had been some time on the cross. The ancients had not the means that we have of accurately reckoning time; so that we cannot be certain of the hour, and it may have been later than nine when Jesus was nailed to the cross. He evidently did not live long after three, probably not many minutes.