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Bethesda Ministries International

Delhi International Christian Fellowship





The Timeline of Jesus

Clue #5: A Friday at Passover

The gospels also agree that Jesus was crucified in conjunction with the annual feast of Passover (Matthew 26:2, Mark 14:1, Luke 22:1, John 18:39). Here we encounter a momentary complication, because Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe the Last Supper on Holy Thursday as a Passover meal (Matthew 26:19, Mark 14:14, Luke 22:15). That would suggest that Good Friday was the day after Passover. However, when describing the morning of Good Friday, John indicates that the Jewish authorities had not yet eaten 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 18:28-29a]. That suggests that the Passover would have begun on sundown Friday.

There are a number of ways of resolving this. For example, some have suggested that Jesus and his disciples used a different calendar than the Jewish authorities, and we know that there were different calendars in use in first century Judaism. It's also possible that Jesus just advanced the date of the Passover celebration for him and his disciples. I mean, they were already convinced he was the Messiah and the Son of God. If he says, "We're celebrating Passover today," and it's a day earlier than most people, they'd just go with that. (Note that he made other modifications to the ceremony, such as instituting the Eucharist in the midst of it.)

And there are other solutions. However, regardless of what Jesus' movement did, we can look to John's statement about the Jesus' captors as an indication of what the Jewish authorities or the mainstream Jewish practice was: They were celebrating a Passover beginning on what we would call Friday evening. That lets us narrow down the range of possible dates to just a few. Here is a complete list of the days between A.D. 29 and 36 on whose evenings Passover began:

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 just two candidates left: Jesus was either crucified on April 7 of A.D. 30 or April 3 of A.D. 33.

Which was it?

The traditional date is that of A.D. 33. You will find quite a number of people today advocating the A.D. 30 date.

Do the gospels let us decide between the two?





7 Clues suggested for deducing the timing of the Cruxification of Jesus

Extract from an Article published by Jimmy Akin 04/10/2013

(Page T2)