The third hour of the day in the New Testament refers to the modern 9 a.m. Time keeping was different. They used sunrise and sunset to determine the start and stop of the day. They divided the light part of the day into twelve parts. Yes, that means an hour may vary in length according to the season. Passover is in spring so there was more daylight. Passover begins the religious calendar year for Jews.
Tour de force-Jordan to Jerusalem
Third Hour of the Day is a term only used three times in the Bible. (Three and third appear hundreds of times from Genesis to Revelations.) They occurred when Jesus was by the Jordan and continued to Pentecost. Personally, I find the grouping and timing of these interesting.
Verse/Stories with the Third Hour of the Day
Matthew 20:3-This is a kingdom of heaven parable about the landowner hiring workers at various times during the day. The end of this story is the first will last and the last will be first. 20:16 has taken on new layers of meaning. I also realize how I have used that saying out of context.
A story with a setting like this would be familiar to his listeners, but the tale is out of season. Several sources put grape harvest in the late summer to fall of the year. (More questions.) The time of the third hour makes them the second group picked, and they worked about eight hours (number of a new beginning).
Mark 15:25-Mark is the only Gospel writer to mention the time for the start of Jesus’ crucifixion. Does this refer to the story in Matthew? I believe Peter helped his nephew with details, but Mark just lost his fancy Passover robe a few hours before. Running home without all of your clothes makes some moments in time stick in your thoughts better than others.
The timeline for the day is a new revelation for me. The Jewish trial took place during the dark of the day (remember sunset starts the new day). So, the trials with Pilate and Herod, the beating by the Romans, and the walk out of the city took three hours-sunrise to the third hour. Jesus hung on the cross for six hours, three in darkness. Joseph of Arimathea got less than three hours to get the body, prepare it, and bury Jesus. Someone else at his house must have been tending to the Passover lamb and the other preparations. Jerusalem feasted as Jesus raided hell to take back the keys.
Six hours (the number of man) may not be long, but it was enough for Jesus to pay the price for our sins. This short period shook and surprised the centurion, soldiers, and Pilate, who knew it should take longer. Wine and myrrh numbed the pain to extend the victims’ suffering on the cross, Jesus refused it.
Please note- the third to the ninth hour is when the Passover lambs were killed at the Temple. Makes you wonder how that was going without electric lights to turn on. Temple lambs came from Bethlehem, more layers to ponder.
Acts 2:15-Pentecost is fifty days after Passover. Forty more days to be with Jesus and learn about His kingdom. The hundred-twenty labored for ten days in pray and picking Judas’ replacement. The Holy Spirit comes in just like at Mount Sinai-wind, noise, and fire. Then as now, the gift of speaking in tongues is marginalized and ridiculed. The Disciples, all 120 of them, are drunk three hours after sunrise. Because people in the crowd understood the languages, and Peter preached a rational sermon, silenced the drunk theory. Were the 3000 another set of workers, like in Matthew 20? I credit Joseph Prince with this statement-3000 died at the giving of the Law, 3000 are born again at the giving of the Spirit.
Things found and more questions
- How prophetic is Matthew 20:1-16? Does it show periods of Church workers/witnesses?
- Could Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus, and Lazarus be a wave of early laborers? (See Triumphal Entry)
- Matthew refers to the holy city when people came to life and walked into the city (27:53). The phrase holy city started a search which led to Hebrews 13:11-14 and 2 Chronicles 8:11. Jesus died outside of the city. First, his death mirrors what happened to sacrificed animals, but speaks to the matter of clean/unclean or Law vs. Grace. The Ark, or presence of God, had been in Jerusalem. God forsook Jesus during those six hours. This is the reason Solomon built his Egyptian bride’s palace outside of the city. The city was holy; she was not.
- Jesus predicted His death three times. Luke 9:2-27, Mark9:30-32, and Matthew 20:17-19. (I am still looking into these.) Matthew 26:1-2 is also one and several times in John. All I know is the Disciples did not go to Galilee like Jesus had instructed them. Jesus showed up in a locked room (twice) to get them to leave. The Law did not require their staying in Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- 3000 souls baptized from the sermon. All the baptizing would have been a lot of work and Pentecost is Shabbat (no work). There is some wiggle room here. Those water baptisms may not have occurred on Pentecost. The biggest and nearest pond was where Jesus healed the lame man. He laid there for thirty-eight years (see the post please). Another possibility is 3000 people received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.