John 19:13-15 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!

Mark 15:25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.

If both are correct, Jesus's trial was a day before his crucifixion.
Is this correct?

4 Answers 4


This discrepancy is well known and Ellicott comments as follows in his remarks on John 19:14 -

And about the sixth hour.—Comp. Notes on Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:25; Luke 23:44. St. John’s statement of time (twelve o’clock) seems opposed to that of St. Mark, who states that the Crucifixion took place at “the third hour” (nine o’clock); and no solution of the discrepancy is wholly satisfactory. ...

... It is better, therefore, simply to admit that there is a difficulty arising from our ignorance of the exact order of events, or, it may be, of the exact words which the Evangelists wrote.

I note that numerous solutions to this problem have been proposed but none really solves the problem. (See appendix below.)

APPENDIX - Some unsatisfactory solutions

The Pulpit Commentary lists a number of attempted solution but none really work.

[John 19:14] It was about the sixth hour. This is in manifest opposition with Mark's statement (Mark 15:25) that the Crucifixion took place at the third hour, and with all three of the synoptists, that the supernatural darkness overspread Jerusalem from the sixth to the ninth hour. This is represented as taking place after our Lord had been hanging for some time upon the cross. Some relief to this great difficulty of horology is found in the slight modification of the text from ὥρα δὲ ὡσεὶ ἕκτη of T.R. to ὥρα η΅ν ὥς ἕκτη, which may suffer the reading of Lange ("es war gegen die"), "it was going on towards the sixth hour" - the third hour, 9 a.m., was passed, and it was moving on to midday.

Westcott, in an elaborate note on John's measurement of time, endeavors to prove that he always uses the Roman system of measure from midnight to midday, instead of the Oriental method of measurement from sunrise to sunset, and that he meant by the sixth hour 6 a.m., not 12 midday. But if this is possible, the perplexity is rather increased than diminished. It is difficult to imagine that this stage of the proceedings could have been reached by six o'clock a.m., and that three hours still followed before the Lord was crucified. M'Clellan hotly espouses this interpretation, and, against Farrar, maintains that the Romans did adopt this computation, by quotations from Censorinus ('De Die Nat.,' 23.), Pithy ('Nat. Hist.,' 2:77), Aulus Gellius, and Maerobius; and he reminds his readers that John wrote in Ephesus, and proves that there was an Asiatic computation of time which corresponded with the Roman, and that there is abundant time before 6 a.m. for all that is needed to have taken place. This is the interpretation of Townson ('Discourses on the Four Gospels'), and it is espoused by Cresswell, Wieseler, Ewald, Westcott, Moulton. Coder, however, gives strong proof, on John 1:39, that the Greeks of Asia Minor were familiar with the Jewish reckoning from sunrise to sunset (see notes on John 1:39; 4:6; 11:9).

Eusebius supposed an alteration of the text of John, converting Γ = 3 into ς = 6. It is strange that no manuscripts have revealed the fact, though the third correcter of א and the supplement to D suggest this early solution of the difficulty. Eusebius was followed by Ammonius and Severus of Antioch. Beza, Bengel, and Alford with hesitation accept this conclusion. Luthardt, Farrar, and Schaff seem inclined to think that this may be the explanation, unless the ὡς be used with great latitude of meaning, and that what is really intended was that it was moving on to midday. The nine o'clock had been passed. Luthardt is dissatisfied with every explanation, not simply because it is inconsistent with the synoptic narrative, but because it is incompatible with John's own reckoning. Hengstenberg thought that the division of the day into four periods of three hours each is far older than either the Talmud or Maimonides (cf. Mark 13:35; Luke 12:38; Matthew 20:3, 4), and that the synoptic narrative reckoned by the terminus a quo, which, taken literally, would be too early for the act of crucifixion, and that John's reckoning points to the terminus ad quem, which, taken literally, would be too late. M'Clellan thinks this "outrageous!" though Andrewes, Lewin, Ellicott, and Lange practically adopt it.

Augustine says, "At the third hour (Mark) he was crucified by the tongues of the Jews, at the sixth hour (John) by the hands of the soldiers." Da Costa suggested that the sixth hour was reckoned backward from 3 p.m., the commencement of the preparation. Mark, by using the aorist, cannot have intended to convey that the whole process of crucifixion, commencing with the scourging, including the procession to Golgotha, and the last scene of all, was included in the verb. (Hesychius argued this view at length, saying that Mark refers to the verdict of Pilate, and John to the nailing to the cross.)


Short Answer: Jesus's trial was not a day before his crucifixion. How do we know? Well, all of these verses note that is was Preparation Day meaning that it would have occurred on the same day. Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:14, 31, 42

One possibility to explain this is that one rounded up and the other rounded down time

To understand this, we first need to understand how a Jewish time works compared to a punctual Western understanding of time:

Johnny V. Miller writes,

Time notations from the time of Christ and before were very inexact, bearing little or no resemblance to the modern concept of punctuality.

Justin Taylor notes,

that “hours” were rough approximations of the sun’s position in a quadrant of the sky.

Notice that in John 19:14, where the NIV translates "about noon" is actually "about the sixth hour".

14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" (NKJV)

Using the word "about" already means that he's not being perfectly precise.

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Here we see that the day was broken into parts.

When we come to passage like Mark 15:25, it is probably best to understand the expression “the third hour” not as a precise reference to 9 a.m., but as an approximate reference to midmorning—from 7:30 or 8 a.m. until 10 or 10:30 a.m.

Likewise, the “sixth hour” could refer to any time from 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m to 1 p.m. or 1:30 p.m.

Justin Taylor concludes that

If the sentencing was delivered, say, around 10:30 a.m., and two witnesses were to glance at the sun in the sky, one could round down to the “third hour” and one could round up to “about the sixth hour,” depending on other factors they might want to emphasize (for example, if John wants to highlight in particular the length of the proceedings and that the final verdict concerning the Lamb of God is not far off from the noontime slaughter of lambs for the Sabbath dinner of Passover week).

Taylor, Justin. “What Hour Was Jesus Crucified? Resolving an Apparent Bible Contradiction.” The Gospel Coalition, Justin Ta, 18 Apr. 2019, www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/hour-jesus-crucified-resolving-apparent-bible-contradiction/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.
The Bible Says. “Timeline: The Final 24 Hours of the Life of Jesus.” TheBibleSays.com, 22 Mar. 2023, www.thebiblesays.com/tough-topics/a-timeline-of-jesuss-final-24-hours/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.


Jesus’ trial started, in fact, in the Passover night itself when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and culminated later in His Crucifixion on the following day.

So, the answer to the OP question, whether the trial and crucifixion were on the same day or two consecutive days depends on the method of reckoning.

In the Egyptian/Roman reckoning these are on two days but in the Jewish reckoning these are on the same day; the Passover (night and) day.

But there is no contradiction, as usual, between John 19:14 and Mark 15:25.


Sequence in John’s Account

“Then receiving a cohort and under-officers from among the chief priests and the Pharisees, Judas came there with torches and lamps and weapons” (John 18:3).

Obviously “torches and lamps” are used in the night.

“And the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold. And they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself” ( John 18:18).

It was a cold night indeed.

“Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the praetorium. And it was early” (John 18:28).

Please read it: it was still early hours.


“And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, Behold, your King!” (John 19:14).

It was around 6 o’ clock in the morning, according to the Egyptian/Roman reckoning (count the hours from midnight and midday). The previous events and verses showing the time to be an early 6 AM.

Sequence in Mark’s Account

“And in the evening He came with the Twelve” (Mark 14:17).

This is talking about the previous evening of the Passover day.

“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, All of you will be offended because of Me this night” (Mark 14:26-27).

After the Passover meal, they went to Gethsemane (Mark 14:32) in the night. The subsequent events all occurred in the night till morning just as John also described.

“And immediately in the morning (G4404), the chief priests with the elders and scribes and all the sanhedrin having made a council, having bound Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate” (Mark 15:1).

[Thayer defines “G4404 Proi” as “2) the fourth watch of the night, from 3 o’ clock in the morning until 6 o’ clock approximately”]

“And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him” (Mark 15:25).

It was at 9 o’ clock in the morning, according to the Jewish reckoning (count the hours from 6 am and 6 pm) that they crucified Jesus.


Both accounts are describing the same events and same times.

John 19:14 talks about Pilate bringing out the flogged Jesus saying “behold your King” at 6 AM.

Mark 15:25 talks about the time of the real Crucifixion at 9 AM.

Where is the contradiction? I don’t see any.


Jesus was arrested around 2:00 am Friday morning in the garden and immediately brought before Annas. He was then sent to Ciaphas around 3:30 Friday morning where Peter denied Jesus for the second and third times and immediately the rooster crowed at about dawn on Friday morning. After he was beaten, he was then sent before the Sanhedrin. Luke 22:66-71 records what transpired about 6 o'clock Friday morning. Verse 66 says it was day time. Mark 15:1 tells us it was early in the morning (Friday morning). Soon thereafter he was sent to Pilate around 7:00 AM. Afterward, Pilate sent him to Herod where Jesus was beaten again by the soldiers. He was then returned to Pilate later on Friday morning who had him flogged and condemned to death. According to John’s account it is now the sixth hour or around noon. He is then taken to the place of crucifixion and hung on the cross. Then, “At the ninth hour (between 2 and 3 PM) Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?’ that is, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?’” Now, Jesus is dead and the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth shook, the rocks were split, and the tombs were opened. Jesus body was then prepared for burial and placed in the tomb on Friday evening before the beginning of the Sabbath. “When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath.” Mark 15:42. Jesus was in the tomb from Friday evening until Sunday morning, the first day of the week. From Friday morning at around 2:00AM until Sunday morning.

 Friday morning arrest and the first two trials – night time. ONE NIGHT

 Friday morning trials before the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Herod, and then the crucifixion and burial – day time – ONE DAY

 Friday night/Saturday morning, in the tomb – night time – SECOND NIGHT  Saturday in the tomb – day time – SECOND DAY

 Saturday night – in the tomb – THIRD NIGHT

 Sunday morning – day time, He is risen – THIRD DAY

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