What does Matthew 27:45 mean?
ESV: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
NIV: From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.
NASB: Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
CSB: From noon until three in the afternoon, darkness came over the whole land.
NLT: At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.
KJV: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
Verse Commentary:
In Jewish Scriptures, darkness symbolizes God's judgment or great tragedy. In this case, it represents both. The prophet Amos delivered these words from God to Israel: "'And on that day,' declares the Lord God, 'I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight'" (Amos 8:9). In a similar way, God used a plague of oppressive, three-day darkness in Egypt to communicate His power and judgment against Israel's enemy (Exodus 10:21–23).

As the Son of God hangs on a Roman cross, dying for the sins of humanity, a sudden darkness falls over the land of Israel. The One being judged is Jesus Himself; He suffers the consequence for sins He never committed (Romans 5:18–21; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Commentors speculated about what might have caused the darkness, though conventional explanations don't seem to work. A natural eclipse of the sun is physically impossible near a full moon, as would have been the case close to Passover. No mention is made of clouds, fog, or other obvious weather issues. This is simply "darkness." Whatever mechanism was involved, God brought it about.

Roman time was aligned differently from that of Israel. Roman hours, as in most modern calendars, began at noon and midnight, while Jewish hours typically ran from the approximate hours of sunrise and sunset: 6 a.m. and p.m. According to Jewish reckoning, then, this darkness lasted from noon until 3 p.m. John's account only indicates that Jesus was brought to Pilate's place of official judgment around "the sixth hour." Many believe John was using the Roman time system, implying that event happened at 6 a.m.
Verse Context:
Matthew 27:45–56 describes the climactic moment when Jesus dies on the cross. Darkness falls over Israel as Jesus hangs near death. Jesus cries out the words of Psalm 22:1, which mean "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Some nearby think He is calling for Elijah the prophet to come and save Him. Jesus dies. Immediately, the massive temple curtain is torn in two, top to bottom. Earthquakes open the tombs of some of the saints of Israel, who are later resurrected. A Roman centurion is shocked enough to declare that Jesus was the Son of God. Three women, Jesus' friends, watch from a distance.
Chapter Summary:
When Judas learns Jesus has been condemned, he regrets betraying the Lord. He throws down his ill-gotten money and hangs himself. Jesus is taken to Pilate, who finds nothing to charge Him with. Given the choice, the people shout for the release of a convicted murderer and insist on Jesus' death. Jesus is mocked by a battalion of soldiers and then taken to be crucified. On the cross, He is mocked for not being able to save Himself. After three hours of darkness, Jesus dies. He is buried by a rich follower in a new tomb. This location is tightly guarded to prevent anyone from stealing the body.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 27 begins with an official meeting of the Jewish ruling council. They affirm Jesus' condemnation from the previous night, described in chapter 26. Judas confesses his betrayal and hangs himself. Pilate tries to release Jesus, but the mob shouts for Jesus to be crucified. Jesus is humiliated by Roman soldiers and marched to be executed. On the cross, He is mocked by Jewish religious leaders and others. He dies and is buried in a never-used tomb. Extensive efforts to secure His body from being stolen only serve to prove the miraculous nature of His resurrection, which is detailed in chapter 28.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/22/2024 8:33:39 AM
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