How Long Was Jesus On The Cross (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6 Hours

Crucifixion was a method used in the ancient Roman Empire as a death penalty for people who were found guilty of any political dispute or any capital offense. Although crucifixion was generally done on people like slaves, foreigners, insurrectionists, and any person who was called guilty of the vilest crimes, Jesus was also crucified. 

The Jewish theocrats planned to convince the Roman authorities that Jesus must be killed so that they maintain their power. The reason the Jewish theocrats eliminate Jesus was that they called Christ to encourage rebellion and proclaimed himself as a King. 

How Long Was Jesus On The Cross?

Although there is no clarification about how long was Jesus Christ laid on the cross, there are Jewish statements available according to which one can calculate how long Jesus was on the cross. 

To calculate the time, two systems of marking time are used in the Gospels. Mark, Matthew, and Luke use the Jewish system of marking time, whereas, on the other hand, John uses the Roman system of marking time. If we look at the Jewish system of marking time, according to which, Mark says that they crucified Jesus Christ and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. Moreover, it was the third hour when they crucified him.

Moreover, Matthew said that from the sixth hour of Jesus’s crucifixion, it was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour of the crucifixion. These were Jesus’ final three hours on the cross during his crucifixion. 

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Now converting this Jewish system of marking time into the current time marking method, the third hour is equal to 9:00 AM when Jesus was laid on the cross and the crucifixion began. Moreover, the sixth hour, when the darkness begins, is equal to noon, that is, noontime. Lastly, the ninth hour, when Jesus died is equal to 3:00 PM according to the current period.

Calculating all the time conversions, the crucifixion began at 9:00 AM and ended at 3:00 PM. In total, Jesus was on the cross for about 6 hours. Here is a quick summary of how long was Jesus on the cross after converting the Jewish system of marking time into the current time marking system:

Jewish System Of Marking TimeModern Method Of Marking Time
Third hour (Jesus was crucified)9:00 AM
Sixth Hour (darkness began)12:00 PM
Ninth hour (Jesus died)3:00 PM

Why Was Jesus On The Cross For That Long?

Jesus was nailed on the cross at 9 in the morning, and he died about 3 in the afternoon. Thus, Jesus Christ spent about 6 hours on the cross. However, as mentioned earlier as well, there is no clear clarification about the time duration of how long was Jesus on the cross. The crucifixion of Jesus is the major event of the among the whole Passion narrative, however, the narratives do not agree to when the crucifixion occurred.

Mark says that Jesus was crucified in the “third hour.” John says that Jesus was crucified in the “sixth hour.” Whereas Matthew and Luke say that it is not stated about when the crucifixion started, but the “sixth hour” occurred during the crucifixion.

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All three of the synoptic Gospels highlighted the situation of ‘darkness’ that happened during the crucifixion which started from noon to the 9th hour, that is, 3 in the afternoon, after which Jesus died. However, neither Matthew nor Luke indicated a time for the crucifixion. But they did describe multiple events after the crucifixion but before the darkness, according to which we can calculate that the time on the cross was somewhat more than three hours and nearly 6 hours.

Conclusion

According to the canonical gospels, Christ was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin, but then finally crucified by the Romans in 1st-century Judea, which is most likely in either AD 30 or AD 33. 

Jesus’ death is portrayed as a sacrifice for humanity’s sins. Christians or people who believe in Christianity believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection are for people to be reunited with God. Through this, they would receive new joy and power in their maternal as well as eternal life. 

References

  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/new-testament-studies/article/death-of-jesus-in-mark-and-the-miracle-from-the-cross/7EB33004A47AEF3F3468BAD8BA9E00A8
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/002096437402800103
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