Three Sixteen: Intersection

A couple of days ago, I began my Three Sixteen blog entry with a lame joke about 3:16 being a time of day. But what if it’s no joke?

It occurred to me that Jesus’ death on the Cross is believed to have happened somewhere in the mid-afternoon of the first Good Friday. Is there any reason to think it may have happened at 3:16 p.m., Judean Standard Time?

Maybe not specifically, but it’s plausible.

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.’ – Luke 23:44-46 (NIV)

The gospels of Matthew and Mark describe this pivotal moment in similar terms – implying that Jesus breathed his last at around 3 p.m. Given that time was kept in pretty approximate terms back then, and the translation of First Century chronometric systems to 21st Century chronometric systems is probably somewhat less than an exact science, it’s reasonable to guess that Jesus died at 3:16 p.m. (It’s equally likely that He died at 2:44 p.m., or anywhere in-between, of course.)

And if he did die at 3:16, so what?

Probably nothing.

And yet.

I have to admit it unsettles my imagination a bit to think about all those New Testament 3:16 verses I mentioned the other day in the original Three Sixteen blog (

This whole apparent coincidence stems from the fact we use numbers and colons to break up the day into hours and minutes, and also to break up Bible books into chapters and verses. And these two utilitarian, arbitrary, entirely human-concocted systems came into use very separately and centuries apart. And now, it’s revealed to me that maybe (just maybe) they intersect at the Cross.

If they do, does that reality put those Three-Sixteen verses I cited the other day in a new Light?

I normally have no interest in numerology; it’s right next to astrology in my book of grasping-at-straws mysticism. But I can’t get past the possibility that God has poured Himself into these numbers – to make the Crucifixion story that much more tangible to me (and others who buy into this probable adventure in rationalization).

Even if that wasn’t His intent, if the two dots that comprise the colon make the two scars in His hands a little more real to me, I think He’s OK with it.

Peace be with you.


About robpetkau

Communications professional by day, amateur musician by night, worship leader (at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Calgary) on weekends and aspiring Bible teacher in my dreams. Grateful husband to the woman who completes me. Doing-the-best-I-can dad to the son and daughter who keep me on my toes. Striving disciple of the GodMan who came, taught and died for me. Thanks for stopping by!
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4 Responses to Three Sixteen: Intersection

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