What time of day did the crucifixion happen?

Jesus CrossThe Bible says that Jesus was placed on the cross at 9 a.m. and darkness covered the land from noon until Jesus’ death at 3 p.m. (Mark 15:25, 33-38).

Earlier in the day the Jewish leaders came to Pilate around 6 a.m. or soon thereafter (see John 19:14). The hearing before Herod took place around seven o’clock Friday morning. Jesus’ second trial before Pilate began around 8 a.m. and according to Mark 15:25 it ended and the crucifixion took place at “the third hour,” which using the Jewish method of counting, would correspond to nine o’clock in the morning. Around noon, while Jesus was on the cross, total darkness surrounded the area, until about 3 p.m. (see Matthew 27:45) when He cried out, “It is finished” and died (John 19:30).

Most commentaries seem to indicate that Jesus was seized in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Jewish religious leaders at approximately midnight. His first trial was in the house of Caiaphas at approximately one o’clock in the morning, and the second attempt to incriminate Him occurred and hour or two later—around two or three o’clock in the morning. Then the trial before the Sanhedrin took place that morning somewhere between three and four. At this time of the year in the latitude of Jerusalem, dawn begins about four a.m. and the sun rises around 5:30. The trial before the Sanhedrin resulted in a unanimous verdict of death, but that verdict had to be affirmed during daylight hours in order to be legal. Therefore it had to be reaffirmed in daylight. The Sanhedrin did this when it reassembled soon after sunrise.

In the year of the crucifixion, Nisan 14, the day appointed for slaying the paschal lambs fell on a Thursday; the preparation for (or eve of) the Passover which coincided with the preparation for (or eve of) the weekly Sabbath. (John 19:14; cf. vs. 31, 42; ch. 20:1) The first ceremonial Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Nisan 15, also coincided with the weekly Sabbath (Leviticus 23:6-8; cf. Mark 15:42 to 16:2; Luke 23:5 to 24:1).

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