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The timing of the Passover meal and the sacrifice in the Temple is intricately linked to the events of Jesus’ crucifixion. While the Synoptic Gospels follow the Jewish calculation of time, the Gospel of John uses Roman time, which aligns with modern timekeeping. Understanding the events that transpired during the crucifixion according to Roman time offers profound insights into their significance.

Passover and Crucifixion Timeline

Thursday 3:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
The priests in the Temple sacrificed lambs that people brought for their Passover meals (Mk 14:12, Lk 22:7). Each family would then take home their sacrificed lamb to celebrate the Passover meal. Alongside an unblemished male lamb, they offered flour and wine (Ex 29:38-39; Num 28:1-8). During this time, Jesus shared His Passover meal with His apostles, instituting the Holy Eucharist with bread and wine.

Friday before 3:00 A.M.
After the Last Supper, Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and taken to the high priest’s palace. The term “cock crow” (Mk 13:35) referred to an official siren at 3:00 A.M. signaling the shift change for soldiers. By this time, Peter had denied Jesus three times, fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy. According to scholars, keeping cocks within Jerusalem was forbidden.

6:00 A.M.
Annas, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin completed their questioning of Jesus and brought Him to Pilate. The trial before Pilate and Herod, the scourging, and the journey to Calvary were completed by 9:00 A.M.

9:00 A.M.
Jesus was crucified. This hour coincided with the time of the daily Perpetual Sacrifice (Tamid) in the Temple, during which an unblemished male lamb, along with flour and wine, was offered (Ex 29:38-39; Num 28:1-8).

Noon to 3:00 P.M.
Darkness covered the land for three hours while Jesus hung on the cross. At 3:00 P.M., Jesus died, corresponding with the afternoon Tamid sacrifice in the Temple.

Theological Significance of the Timing

The timing of Jesus’ crucifixion is deeply significant. The Perpetual Sacrifice in the Temple at 9:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. was a daily ritual where the Jewish people prayed for redemption from their sins. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross began and ended at these same times, symbolizing the ultimate and final sacrifice for the redemption of humanity’s sins. His crucifixion replaced the Tamid sacrifice, a practice that ceased with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

Jesus’ death not only fulfilled the Jewish sacrificial system but also established the New Covenant. The bread and wine offered at Holy Mass, which become the Body and Blood of Christ, correspond to the flour and wine used in the Tamid sacrifice, symbolizing the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world.


Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the cornerstone of Christian faith. He offered His life to save those who believe in Him, abolishing the need for animal sacrifices in the Temple. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus provides the ultimate solution to the problem of sin, something that animal sacrifices could never achieve.

What does Jesus expect from us in response to His sacrifice? He calls us to a life of sacrificial service. This involves denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him (Mt 16:24). Our personal sacrifices, whether they be acts of service, love, or kindness, are expressions of our gratitude and commitment to Him. They also contribute to the well-being of those around us, reflecting Jesus’ love and compassion.

As Christians, we are called to live in the light of Jesus’ sacrifice. This means embracing His way, truth, and life, and letting His sacrificial love guide our actions. By doing so, we honor His sacrifice and participate in His mission of redeeming and transforming the world.

May we continually remember the profound significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and strive to live lives that reflect His love and truth. Let us be instruments of His grace, offering ourselves in service to others, and proclaiming the good news of His redeeming love. Amen.

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