Awhile back while studying, the Scriptures I came across a couple of passages that on the surface would appear to be a contradiction. I’ve come to find out that by researching the historical and cultural context is necessary for complete understanding of God’s Word. Knowing that Christianity’s opponents will find every reason to charge the Scriptures with contradiction, we as believers in a Sovereign God must be prepared to give a defense for the hope that is in us by understanding contextually, historically and culturally why we believe what we believe. So here you have it.  Mark 15:22-25 They brought Him to the place called Golgotha, which means, “Place of a Skull.” They gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. When they had crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them, to decide what each man should take. Now it was the THIRD HOUR, and they crucified Him.  Notice in the passage above Mark states that Jesus was crucified on the third hour, which according to the Jewish timetable the beginning of a day started at 6am (sun up), so by doing the math we see that the third hour is 9am in the morning when they crucified Jesus.  Sounds simple enough, but let’s take a look at John’s account.  John 19:13-15 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement which in Hebrew is Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation of the Passover and about the SIXTH HOUR. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” But they shouted, “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”  Now how is it that Jesus according to the Gospel of Mark is being crucified on the THIRD HOUR but according to John’s Gospel He is standing before Pilate being condemned to death on the SIXTH HOUR? Shouldn’t Jesus already be nailed to the cross? The reason I’m writing this is to give us a proper understanding of God’s Word. To understand what the apostle John is saying we must understand who his audience is that he’s writing his gospel account to. We know contextually that John wrote his gospel to Gentile believers. How do we know that? Because when we read John’s account, we see that he had to explain Jewish customs, translate Jewish names, and locate Palestinian sites. These facts suggest that he was writing for Gentile readers who lived primarily outside Palestine. Therefore, the timetable in which they would understand is the Roman timetable which operates equally to ours today. So John’s sixth hour is referring to 6am in the morning, which is identical to the time that Jesus was standing before Pilate in the synoptic Gospel’s (Mark 15:1-2). Three hours later Jesus would be nailed to the cross.  

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