Six Hours One Friday: The Ultimate Sacrifice is Made
- Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Editor's Note: "Creed" is an ongoing article series that discusses the core beliefs of Christianity as expressed in the Apostle's and Nicene creeds. Links to other installments are listed at the end of this article.
Much had occurred since Jesus had dined with His disciples for that final Seder meal, a meal we commonly refer to as “The Last Supper.” In a matter of a very few hours, He’d been arrested, taken to the Sanhedrin, talked to Pilate, hauled off to Herod’s, and then returned to Pilate. He had been questioned, mocked, beaten, and brutally tortured. His beloved Peter had denied even knowing Him, much less following Him.
More importantly, He had been rejected and condemned to die. After being led up to a hill known as “The Place of the Skull,” He was crucified between two thieves with only a handful of His loved ones about Him, mostly women—including His mother, Mary. The only one of The Twelve who’d followed Him up to Calvary was John. (Sometimes I wonder what the moments after John reunited with the remaining 10 was like, don’t you?)
Six to Nine
All the before mentioned occurred between the very early morning hours on Friday and 9 a.m.. According to John’s gospel, Jesus was condemned at 6 in the morning (19:14). Three hours later, He was nailed to a Roman Cross. Mark’s gospel says: It was the third hour when they crucified him. (15:25) It was now 9:00.
This is significant. According to John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, 9:00 was “the time of the daily sacrifice of the morning, at which the priests ought to have been; and the time when the Sanhedrim usually began to sit.” (emphasis, mine.)
And so, at 9 on that Friday morning, the ultimate sacrifice began. This was no ordinary sacrifice. This was God sacrificing Himself in order to bring His creation back to Himself.
Nine to Noon to Three
According to Matthew, after Jesus experienced three hours of suffering and dying, the world began to grow dark. From the sixth hour to the ninth hour, darkness came over all the land, his gospel reads.
Why? Because the “Light of the World” was dying.
Genesis 1:3 tells us that God separated the light from the darkness, creating the first day. Yet it is not until the 14th verse (and the fourth day) that God created the sun and the moon. So then what (or who) was the light?
John opens his gospel with these words:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (Emphasis, mine)
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