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Clue #1: The High Priesthood of Caiaphas
The gospels indicate that Jesus was crucified at the instigation of the first century high priest named Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3-4, John 11:49-53). We know from other sources that he served as high priest from A.D. 18 to 36, so that puts Jesus' death in that time frame. But we can get more specific. Much more.
Clue #2: The Governorship of Pontius Pilate
All four gospels agree 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 know from other sources when he served as governor of Judea--A.D. 26 to A.D. 36--so we can narrow down the range by several years. But how are we going to get it down to a specific day and year?
Clue #3: After "the Fifteenth Year of Tiberius Caesar"
The Gospel of Luke tells us when the ministry of John the Baptist began: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 picks out a specific year: A.D. 29.
Since all four gospels depict the ministry of Christ beginning after that of John the Baptist had begun (Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1), this means that we can shave a few more years off our range. The death of Christ had to be in a range of seven years: between A.D. 29 and 36.
Clue #4: Crucified on a Friday
All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Friday (Matt. 27:62, Mark 15:42; Luke23:54; John 19:42), just before a Sabbath, which was just before the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1).
We know that it was a Friday because it is referred to as "the day of preparation"--that is, the day on which Jews made the preparations they needed for the Sabbath, since they could not do any work on that day. Thus thus cooked food in advance and made other necessary preparations. The Jewish Encyclopedia states:
Friday, as the forerunner of Shabbat, is called "'Ereb Shabbat" (The Eve of Sabbath). The term "'ereb" admits of two meanings: "evening" and "admixture" (Ex. xii. 38); and "'Ereb Shabbat" accordingly denotes the day on the evening of which Sabbath begins, or the day on which food is prepared for both the current and the following days, which latter is Sabbath.
The idea of preparation is expressed by the Greek name paraskeué, given by Josephus ("Ant." xvi. 6, § 2) to that day (compare Mark xv. 42; Luke xxiii. 54; Matt. xxvii. 62; John xix. 42). In Yer. Pesaḥim iv. 1 the day is called "Yoma da-'Arubta" (Day of Preparation) [Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v., "Calendar"]. That eliminates six of the days of the week, but there were still quite a few Fridays between A.D. 29 and 36. Can we figure out which one?
7 Clues suggested for deducing the timing of the Cruxification of Jesus
Extract from an Article published by Jimmy Akin 04/10/2013
(3 pages - This Page Clues #1-#4 / Page T2 Clue #5 / Page T3 Clue #6 & #7)