November 1

Text: Matthew 27:45

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.  (NASB)

Mark 15:25 stated Jesus’ crucifixion started at the 3rd hour (9 a.m.)  The Matthew account was not concerned with noting when Jesus’ crucifixion began.  Matthew incorporates no timeline of Jesus’ crucifixion events.  Matthew focused on the unusual things that occurred when Jesus died. There were a number of things that declared something significant was occurring (had occurred).

The timing mentioned in Matthew was the Jewish way of indicating time.  The darkness was from the 6th hour (noon) to the 9th hour (3 p.m.).  In the Jewish way of reckoning time, the day began with the first hour of light.  To them, there were 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light.  A day began with the arrival of darkness.  They based their approach on Genesis 1:5, “There was evening and was morning, one day.”  Roman measurement of a day ran from midnight to the following midnight.

Throughout the Bible, there was no universal calendar that standardized the measurement of time in all societies.  The Jews followed a lunar calendar—they determined a month and a year through moon measurements.  They were more concerned about moving from event to event (or age to age) than a concept of the “circle of time.”  They were more concerned about the “what” of a happening than the “when” of a happening.  Note Matthew’s concern with the significance of Jesus’ crucifixion, not with “Jesus’ crucifixion occurred on this date.”  The “when” of an occurrence was more likely to depend on the year of a king’s reign (see Luke 3:1, 2) or a widely known event (see Amos 1:1).

Even today, if you live among people who depend on the sun for light, those people will not understand your dependence on a clock or your preoccupation with the measurement of time.

Matthew noted the darkness, not the when of Jesus’ crucifixion.

A truth for all: Measuring time is meaningless for those who abuse time.

Suggestion for reflection: “When” something happened is meaningless if we do not grasp the “significance” of what happened.  (Read James 5:1-8.)

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