Christians commemorate Good Friday and Easter, the yearly events of Jesus’ death (the Day of Crucifixion) and resurrection. All of us understand that this occurred in Jerusalem in the 1st century. That separates Jesus from mythological pagan gods, who were expected to reside in areas or times that none can define. Exactly how certain can we be with the death of Jesus? Can we figure out the precise day? With some mathematical and scientific evidence for the day of crucifixion, we can.
And here’s how …
Key # 1: The High Priesthood of Caiaphas
The gospels suggest that Jesus was crucified at the instigation of the 1st century high priest called Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3 -4, John 11:49 -53).
We understand from other sources that he functioned as high priest from A.D. 18 to 36, so that puts Jesus’ death during that timespan.
However we can get more certain with scientific evidence for the day of crucifixion. A lot more.
Key # 2: The Governorship of Pontius Pilate
All 4 gospels concur that Jesus was crucified on the orders of Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:24 -26, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:24, John 19:15 -16).
We understand from other sources when he functioned as governor of Judea – A.D. 26 to A.D. 36 – so we can narrow the time span by a number of years.
However how are we going to get it down to a precise day and year?
Key # 3: After “the Fifteenth Year of Tiberius Caesar”
The Gospel of Luke informs us when the ministry of John the Baptist started:
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar … the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness [Luke 3:1 -2]
This identifies a particular year: A.D. 29.
Considering that all 4 gospels portray the ministry of Christ starting after that of John the Baptist had actually kicked off (Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1), this indicates that we can shave a couple of more years off our time span.
The death of Christ needed to remain in a range of 7 years: in between A.D. 29 and 36.
Key # 4: Crucified on a Friday
All 4 gospels concur that Jesus was crucified on a Friday (Matt. 27:62, Mark 15:42; Luke23:54; John 19:42), right before a Sabbath, which was right before the 1st day of the week (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1).
We understand that it was a Friday due to the fact that it is described as “the day of preparation”– that is, the day on which Jews made the preparations they required for the Sabbath, given that they might refrain from doing any work on that day. Therefore they prepared food ahead of time and made other needed preparations.
That gets rid of 6 of the days of the week, however there were still many Fridays in between A.D. 29 and 36.
Can we find out which one? Again, with more scientific evidence for the day of crucifixion, we definitely can!
Key # 5: A Friday at Passover
The gospels likewise concur that Jesus was crucified in conjunction with the yearly feast of Passover (Matthew 26:2, Mark 14:1, Luke 22:1, John 18:39).
Here we come across a small problem, due to the fact that Matthew, Mark, and Luke talk about the Last Supper on Holy Thursday as a Passover meal (Matthew 26:19, Mark 14:14, Luke 22:15). That would indicate that Good Friday was the day after Passover.
Nevertheless, when explaining the early morning of Good Friday, John reveals that the Jewish authorities had actually not yet consumed the Passover meal:
Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium [i.e., Pilate’s palace] It was early. They themselves did not enter the Praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. So Pilate went out to them [John 18:28 -29 ]
That proposes that the Passover would have started on sundown Friday.
Referring to John’s declaration about Jesus’ captors as an indicator of what the Jewish authorities or the mainstream Jewish practice was: They were commemorating a Passover that started on what we would call Friday night.
That lets us shorten the range of possible dates to simply a handful. Here is a total list of the days around A.D. 29 and 36 on whose evenings Passover started:.
Monday, April 18, A.D. 29.
Friday, April 7, A.D. 30.
Tuesday, March 27, A.D. 31.
Monday, April 14, A.D. 32.
Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.
Wednesday, March 24, A.D. 34.
Tuesday, April 12, A.D. 35.
Saturday, March 31, A.D. 36.
As you can see, we have simply 2 prospects left: Jesus was either crucified on April 7 of A.D. 30 or April 3 of A.D. 33.
Which was it?
The conventional date is that of A.D. 33. You will discover quite a variety of individuals today promoting the A.D. 30 date.
Do the gospels let us choose among the two?
Key # 6: John’s Three Passovers.
The Gospel of John records 3 various Passovers throughout the ministry of Jesus:.
Passover # 1: This is captured in John 2:13, near the start of Jesus’ ministry.
Passover # 2: This is captured in John 6:4, in the middle of Jesus’ ministry.
Passover # 3: This is captured in John 11:55 (and often talked about later on), at the end of Jesus’ ministry.
That suggests that the ministry of Jesus needed to cover something over 2 years. A fuller treatment would uncover that it stretched over about 3 and a half years. However, even if we presume it started right away prior to Passover # 1, the addition of 2 more Passovers reveals that it lasted more than 2 years at a bare minimum.
That suggests the A.D. 30 date is out.
There are insufficient time anywhere between the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar– A.D. 29– and the next year’s Passover to accomodate a ministry of at minimum 2 years.
The numbers do not add up.
As a result, the conventional date of Jesus’ death– Friday, April 3, A.D. 33– need to be considered as the proper one.
Can we be a lot more accurate with scientific evidence for the day of crucifixion?
Key # 7: “The Ninth Hour”.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke each record that Jesus passed away about “the ninth hour” (Matthew 27:45 -50, Mark 15:34 -37, Luke 23:44 -46).
“The ninth hour” is what we, today, would come to know as 3:00 p.m
This enables us to shorten the time of Jesus’ death to a remarkably precise point in history: around 3:00 p.m on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.
On a final note, even the stars in heaven point exactly to the date that we have concluded here. It is highly suggested that you also view our Prophetic Evidence For The Star Of Bethlehem and have zero doubt as to the 3:00 p.m on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33 date!!
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