How Long Did Jesus Hang on The Cross?

By Charalampos •  Updated: 04/01/23 •  6 min read

The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the central stories of Christianity. It’s a moment that is often talked about but rarely examined in great detail- especially when it comes to how long our Lord and Savior hung on the cross before his death. 

Do we know exactly how long Jesus spent suffering from the weight of mankind’s sins? Let’s take a closer look at what we do know about this critical event.

What We Know From The Bible

Jesus on the cross

The Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John provide some information about the time during which Jesus hung on the cross.

Matthew writes in 27:45-46 that from the sixth until the ninth hour, there was darkness.

In Mark 15:33-34, it’s written the same information. When the sixth hour had come there was darkness, and then at the ninth hour, Jesus asked God the Father. “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour, Jesus asked God the Father “why have you forsaken me?”

Luke 23:44-46 also writes about the darkness in those hours and that in the ninth hour, Jesus died. The last words of Jesus were called “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

In John 19:30, it’s written that the last words of Jesus were “It’s finished”. However, the Gospel of John doesn’t have detailed information on the duration of Jesus’ crucifixion, but it shows different details of Jesus’ crucifixion compared to the other three Gospels.

In Mark 15:25 is written that it was nine in the morning when they crucified him. This shows the moment when the execution happened. 
In Matthew 27:57 is written that the dead body of Jesus was on a cross till evening, after that a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph asked to take his body for burial.

How Long Was Jesus on The Cross? 

time that jesus was on the cross

Based on these verses we can know that Jesus was crucified for approximately three-six hours from 9 am or noon until 3 p.m.

In the Jewish system of timekeeping used at the time, the day was divided into 12 equal parts, beginning at sunrise. So, the sixth hour would have been between 9 am and noon, and the ninth hour would have been around 3 pm.

Mark says that Jesus was crucified at the third hour (9 am in the Jewish system), and in Matthew 27:45-46 and Luke 23:44-45, it says that darkness fell over the land from the sixth hour (noon) to the ninth hour (3 pm) while Jesus was on the cross.

The darkness that covered the land is seen as a supernatural event that symbolized the judgment of God as Jesus bore the sins of humanity.

Most likely, this darkness appeared in the form of a solar eclipse.

We can also know that the body of Jesus Christ was on the cross until the evening when his secret disciple asked a governor to take his body. 

The Church Fathers on Jesus’s Time on The Cross

Jesus carrying the cross

Considering the writings of the Church Fathers we can know more about the meaning of the crucifixion.

Saint John Chrysostom wrote in his Homily 87 on the Gospel of Matthew, “For this reason, the sun was darkened, that we might not be overwhelmed by the excessive effulgence of his glory. For if, when he was performing miracles, the people could not bear to look upon him, much less would they have been able to endure the sight of his suffering.”

The saint writes that people wouldn’t be able to look at the sufferings of Jesus, so the darkness fell on the whole land.

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem wrote in his Catechetical Lectures, “For when the sun was eclipsed, then the darkness came on, that the blood of the Lord might not be seen by the Jews, since it was shed not for them only, but for the salvation of the whole world.”

The saint writes that Jesus came to our Earth for the salvation of all nations, and it’s important to understand the meaning of his sufferings, which include the time he suffered and the miracle of darkness that happened during that process.

Saint Augustine wrote about the details of Jesus’ crucifixion in Tractate 124 in the Gospel of John, “The soldiers did not break his legs, because he was already dead. They pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. This was not a natural phenomenon, but a miracle, testifying to the reality of his death.”

Based on these writings we can know that the Church Fathers knew that Jesus suffered for several hours and they believed that the darkness which occurred during the crucifixion was a supernatural event that symbolized the judgment of God, it also let people not see the sufferings of Jesus in all details.

They also believed that the death of Jesus Christ was a real and significant event that had profound theological meaning for humanity.

Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that Jesus suffered on the cross for a few hours and died because of terrible pain and stress.

Because of the different Jewish system of time, we can only approximately find out for how long he suffered – from three to six hours. It’s also said that his body was on a cross until evening, which means that Jesus was on a cross for approximately 9-10 hours in total.

During those hours Jesus experienced terrible pain and suffering. Jesus’ suffering on the cross serves as an example of how to live a faithful life for all Christians. The Gospel of Matthew says that every Christian should take up the cross and follow Jesus, not being afraid of anything. (Matthew 16:24)

The sufferings of Jesus Christ are also seen as an expression of God’s love for humanity. The Bible teaches that God shows His love toward us and that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). In other words, Jesus willingly endured the pain and agony on the cross out of love for us so that we can be saved and get eternal life.

Saint John Chrysostom Homily 87 on the Gospel of Matthew (1)
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures
Saint Augustine Tractate 124 on the Gospel of John


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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