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Beautiful Words Blog | On The Clock By Pastor John Moropoulos | Gateway Christian Fellowship

2 May, 2024

Text: Mark 15.25

And it was the third hour when they crucified Him. Mark 15:34

Lately I’ve been paying more attention to C.S. Lewis, especially to the idea of his

conversion. I’ve got a lot more reading to do before I comment on it, but one thing has

gotten my attention. I think it’s because of the time we’ve spent in Mark’s Gospel these

many months.

In Mark 15 we have the account of Jesus’ crucifixion. One of the things that stands out

is the brevity with which Mark describes the crucifixion itself. There are lots of things

Mark notes about the people and events around the Crucifixion. He notes the two

others executed with Jesus, the mocking crowds, the attendant women, the soldiers, the priests, the Temple veil being rent, the passer by forced to carry Jesus’ cross, the

Centurion, and others. The actual crucifixion is covered in one brief sentence.

And it was the third hour when they crucified Him.

That’s it. In verse 34 Jesus’ words, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” are

recorded. In verse 37 we Mark records that Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His


Not much detail. Mark does give a good bit of detail about some other things, and the

brevity of his crucifixion description makes those other things stand out.

One thing that Mark does give us are some critical time markers. Jesus was crucified at

the third hour (verse 25). At the sixth hour (verse 33) darkness fell over the whole

land… At the ninth hour the darkness lifted (verse 33) and Jesus cried out with a loud

voice (verse 34).

Finally, it was when evening had already come (verse 42) that Joseph of Arimathea

came to Pilate asking for the body of Jesus. Sometime between after three and after

six in the afternoon or evening that Jesus was pronounced dead and His body taken

from the cross.

The question to be asked is, given Mark’s usual brevity, “Why the attention to the

clock?” One could suggest that the hours of 9, 12, 3, and 6 have significance, but I

believe that there is something more obvious. Mark’s use of time markers grounds his

account in time, in certainty, and shows it to be the stuff of reality and fact.

Which brings me back to C.S. Lewis. In a letter to Arthur Greeves, written in 1931, Lewis wrote,

“Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the

same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really

happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way,…

Setting aside our discomfort with Lewis’s use of the word “myth” what stands out is

Lewis’ singular observation that this myth, the Christian myth, “really happened.” There

is the sum of it.

There are ample examples of pagan “myths” that resemble Christianity, even to the

point of rebirth after death, of a resurrection. Even in contemporary Greek, Egyptian

and Roman myths there were gods dying and being reborn. As Lewis points out

however, the glaring difference is simply this, the resurrection of Jesus actually


So the account of our Lord’s resurrection is, to human logic, incomprehensible, to

human language, inexplicable. But as a matter of historical fact, undeniable. Mark

grounds his account in time so that we know and remember that the resurrection of our Lord and Savior really happened. One could have set one’s watch by it, and because it really happened in space and time we can ground our faith upon it. And so we must.


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