Listen:  74 Question 4

The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ is the single most important event in history.  It is there that the very Son of God gave His life as a sacrifice to rescue sinful man from an eternity in Hell.  The crucifixion was not an unexpected event, but it was predetermined in past eternity that Christ would die for sinners like you and me.  In Revelation 13:8, Christ is referred to as, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  It was early in His ministry that the Lord began to teach His disciples about his coming crucifixion as we read in Matthew 16:21, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”

Without the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation for us.  God is a loving and righteous God.  He loves us all, but He hates the sins that we commit.  We read of the Lord and His righteousness in Habakkuk 1:13 which says, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…”  The Lord cannot stand the sight of our sins.  We read of the Lord and His love in 1 John 4:10 which says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Christ being our propitiation literally means that He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Concerning His crucifixion, the Lord Jesus told Pilate in John 18:37, “…To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world…”  The Apostle Paul made it very clear in 1 Timothy 1:15 where he wrote, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

There has been some difficulty in understanding the time of day that the Lord was crucified.  Mark 15:22-25 says, “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.”  The Jewish day was determined from sun-up, which is around 6:00 AM.  According to what we just read in Mark, the Lord’s crucifixion began at the third hour, which would be at 9:00 in the morning.  Now, in reading John’s account of the crucifixion, we read in John 19:13-14, “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”  Here we read that it was about the sixth hour that the Lord was being tried before Pilate, before His crucifixion, while Mark tells us that Christ was crucified at the third hour.  The difficulty can easily be dispelled by realizing that John was probably using Roman time, while Mark was using Jewish time.  While the Jewish day began at sun-up, or 6:00 AM; the Roman day began at midnight, even as we mark our time today.  With that understood, we see that the Lord appeared before Pilate around 6:00 AM and was crucified at 9:00 AM.

Now let’s read Mark 15:33-37, “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” Matthew, Mark, and Luke make mention of this darkness which began at the sixth hour, which would be 12:00 noon.  We see that it was at the ninth hour, or 3:00 PM that Christ gave up the ghost.  Luke 23:46 puts it this way, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

So, we can see from the scriptures that the Lord Jesus was crucified at 9:00 AM and died at 3:00 PM, which means He was on the cross for six hours.  May we all consider this event as more than just historical.  It is an important day for all of us.  1 Corinthians 15:3 tells us that, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”  The crucifixion was for you; it was for me.  We read in 1 John 4:9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”