How Long Was Jesus On The Cross? Shedding Light On His Final Journey

The core of the Christian faith is the death of Jesus of Nazareth[1] and his ascension from the dead. The cross was a cruel, horrible, and terrible punishment. But it’s also the scene of Jesus Christ demonstrating his love for sinners by bearing their guilt and punishment.

The Romans were skilled executioners who kept their prisoners as close to the brink of death as possible. Thus, Jesus’ killing was not simple. Since crucifixions could take a few days, we must comprehend what happened to Jesus to celebrate Easter and remember his sacrifice daily. It raises the question, “For how long was Jesus on the cross?”

When Was Jesus Crucified?

The crucifixion was not simply to kill but also to deter future criminal behavior. Crucifixion victims were to be humiliated and frequently allowed to hang naked. According to Jewish law, the cross was stigmatized and bore a curse (Galatians 3:13; 5:11).

Excruciating means “out of crucifying,” as crucifixion was a prolonged and painful method of execution; it was an “excruciating” way to pass away. Depending on the situation, some people could survive after being nailed to a cross for days.

Judas met Jesus outside the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday, and Jesus was then taken into custody. He went on a “fake trial” with the religious leaders during the late-night hours into early Friday morning before being taken back and forth to Pilate and Herod. Before being pounded with stakes to a wooden cross, Jesus was flogged, beaten, forced to carry the crossbeam, and assisted by Simon of Cyrene.

According to the gospel of John, Jesus was on trial before Pontius Pilate at around six o’clock in Roman time. That corresponds to 6 A.M. for the Romans. According to Matthew 27:45, the sky became completely black at six o’clock, making it impossible to see your hand in front of your face. After Jesus dies during three hours of darkness, everything ends.

How Long Was Jesus On The Cross?

In order to assassinate Jesus and keep their hold on power, the Jewish theocrats devised a scheme to persuade the Roman government that Jesus needed to be put to death. The Jewish authorities charged Christ with inciting revolt and pretending to be the King. Jesus died on a Roman cross rather than being stoned to death, which was the traditional Jewish manner of punishment due to this accusation of insurrection.

Using two different timekeeping systems in the Gospels makes it challenging to provide a definitive answer to how long Jesus was crucified. Matthew, Mark, and Luke use Jewish timekeeping. John employs the Roman method.

According to Mark, they crucified Jesus and divided his clothes among them by drawing lots to choose which one each person should take. They crucified him at the third hour (Mark 15:24–25). It states that the crucifixion of Christ began at nine in the morning.

According to Matthew’s account of events in Matthew 27:45, “from the sixth hour, there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45) is another example of how the Jewish calendar is used to express time. In other words, it was pitch black from Noon to Three. Jesus spent his last three hours on the cross during this time.

After that period, Matthew states, “When Jesus had cried out again with a loud voice, he gave up his spirit” (Matthew 27:50). Following his execution by Roman soldiers (John 19:34), Jesus’ body was removed from the scene. Jesus had been dying on the cross since around nine in the morning. It took six hours, from 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

John adds the information that Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate was occurring “about the sixth hour” according to Roman time (John 19:14). The “sixth hour” would begin at 6:00 A.M. because the Romans began counting their hours at midnight. All things considered, Jesus’ trial finished at 6:00 A.M. Three hours later, he was crucified and passed away about six hours later.

painting of jesus on cross against a stormy background

How Did Jesus Die On The Cross?

We must recognize that Jesus completely controlled everything that occurred on the cross. Jesus could have invoked his angels to protect him when the Romans mocked him and told him to do so. Jesus could have performed a powerful performance by commanding armies of angels to descend upon the audience. As a substitute, he pleaded with God to pardon “those who do not know what they do,” and he bore the whole weight of our eternal wrath.

After the darkness, different Gospel accounts claim that Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabacthani” (“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”). When wine vinegar was offered to him, he once again screamed out and gave up.

Moreover, there are seven reported instances during the ninth hour when Jesus cried from the cross. He makes pronouncements, prays, converses with the thief, converses with his mother, shares that he is thirsty (a frail symptom of his humanity), and speaks with the thief. However, some chief priests, leaders, and lecturers mocked him.

The Bible and the Catholic Church carefully note that Jesus cries out loudly in the dying seconds of his life, even though the constant gasping for breath while your body weight presses against the spikes must have been terrible. Jesus had already died before the soldier arrived, giving his life in atonement for us. Jesus’ life was given, not taken.

Three Nights And Three Days After Jesus’ Crucifixion

In Matthew 12:40, Jesus predicted that he would spend “three days and three nights” in the grave. Given that Christ was crucified on Friday and risen on Sunday, how is this possible? Because of the alleged discrepancies between how long Christ indicated he would be in the tomb and the period between his burial and resurrection that is recorded in the Bible, the “three days and three nights” referenced in Matthew 12:40 has confounded some.

Some claim that if we embrace all of the Bible’s teachings, we must accept that Jesus spent precisely three days and three nights—or a total of 72 hours—in the grave. This is the primary evidence for Jesus’ deity and status as the Messiah. These claim that rather than the important event of Jesus’ resurrection, the proof of his Messiahship depends more on how long he spent in the tomb.

painting of illuminated cross for how long was jesus on the cross


The ancient Roman Empire utilized the crucifixion to enforce the death penalty for anyone found guilty of a capital offense. Crucifixion was typically reserved for enslaved people, foreigners, rebels, and those responsible for the most heinous crimes.

Remember what Jesus said to his followers at the Last Supper when he broke bread and shared the wine as we annually celebrate Jesus’ resurrection on Easter. As we reflect on Jesus’s time before the cross, on the cross, and then the empty tomb on Sunday morning, let us realize that our God sacrificed his own Son so that we could live eternally with him in Heaven. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

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