“Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaints and moan, and he hears my voice.” Psalm 55:17 (ESV)
One of my favorite parts of Scripture is seeing how God wove certain topics from beginning to end. I love to see how pieces of the New Testament connect with the Old Testament. I love how Jesus fulfilled pieces of Scripture that we often skim over and don’t even consider important. Yet to God, every detail is important.
I love that about God! I love that He cares not only about the big things in our lives, but He also cares about the smallest details. He has not left anything to chance. It was not a casual sacrifice for Him to see His Son on the cross. He carefully planned every detail. Just as a parent who has lost a child carefully plans every detail of the funeral and burial, so God the Father carefully planned every detail of His Son’s death and resurrection.
Sometimes we forget that Jesus was Jewish. From the day of his birth, he fulfilled Jewish customs. When he was eight days old, he was circumcised. He was presented at the temple when the time of purification came. He grew up a very Jewish boy in a very Jewish community. He would have had their customs engrained in his life.
One of the Jewish customs was to pray three times a day: morning, noon and night. These times were also known as the third hour, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour. We see this custom from David when he says in the Psalms that he prays morning, noon and evening. We see this from Daniel when he prays towards Jerusalem three times a day.
“And it was the third hour when they crucified him” (Mark 15:25). Jesus was crucified at 9am. He was nailed to the cross at the time of the morning sacrifice. As the Jews were offering their morning prayer, their Savior was being hung on a tree.
“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour” (Mark 15:33). At the time of noon prayer, darkness covered the land. The atmosphere of the earth shifted. This was noon. Normally, the sun would have been shining. The day would have been light. But, the Light of the world was dying. The Son of God was breathing his last breaths. Creation could not continue as normal. The earth reacted and darkness covered the whole land.
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’…And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'” (Mark 15:34, 37-39)
At the ninth hour, Jesus breathed his last breath. The sacrifice was complete. The Lamb of God had suffered the final blow. Matthew 27 says that Jesus yielded up his spirit. It was not taken from him. He chose to die. He chose to fully surrender to the will of God and die a sinner’s death on the cross.
“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight” (Exodus 29:38-39).
Jesus was the morning sacrifice as he was nailed to the cross at 9am, and he was the evening sacrifice as he breathed his last breath at 3pm. Every detail, every moment, carefully orchestrated by the Father.
Personal Reflection: How does it bring you comfort to know that God cares about EVERY detail of your life?