The death of Jesus Christ is a significant event within the Christian faith and one that has been studied for centuries. To this day, the actual date of Jesus’ death is still a topic of debate among scholars.
The Bible does not provide a clear answer as to when Christ died, as it only refers to the events that led up to His death and the days following. However, many scholars have studied the gospel accounts to approximate the timeline of these events.
When Did Jesus Die?
The exact date and time of Jesus’ death, while not definitively known, is widely accepted to have occurred in the spring of either AD 30 or 33, at around 3 p.m. (Luke 23:44–46). Other gospel writers, such as in Matthew 27:45–56 and Mark 15:33–41, also point to this timeframe.
The lack of a precise date in the Bible, combined with the Gospels situating His crucifixion around the Jewish festival of Passover, suggests a date during this period, likely after the observance of the Passover meal. Understanding the historical context of Roman-occupied Judea and the Jewish Passover celebration can offer additional insight into the timing and significance of these events.
Some scholars, using astronomical models and historical records, speculate a date of April 7th, AD 30, derived from interpretations of John 19:14 among other scriptures. However, the methodologies yield varying results, and as such, any proposed date remains speculative.
On What Day Did Jesus Die?
And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.— Mark 15:42–43 (NIV)
In Mark 15:42–43, it is stated that Jesus’ crucifixion took place on a Friday within the week of Passover. This day is known as the Day of Preparation, a term used to describe the day preceding the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest, which is customarily observed on Saturday. Hence, we believe that Jesus died on a Friday. All four gospel accounts agree with this as well.
This day has been given various names over time. In Western Christianity, it’s referred to as “Good Friday” as it marks the day of Jesus’ death, which led to his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Other religions also use distinct terms, such as the Great Sabbath, Preparation Day, or the Great and Holy Friday.
Good Friday forms an integral segment of the Triduum observance, a trio of consecrated days preceding the jubilation of Easter Sunday. This hallowed interval venerates Christ’s crucifixion, entombment, and eventual resurrection, epitomizing the Divine’s ultimate offering for mankind’s redemption.
The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most important events in Christianity. Knowing when it occurred helps explain the significance and symbolism behind other Christian holidays.
As such, Christians around the world celebrate this time with solemn prayer services that remember Jesus’ final hours on Earth before his death and resurrection. The timing of Jesus’ passing was also fulfilled by prophecies found in both the Old and New Testaments.
What Time Did Jesus Die?
The exact time of Jesus’ death is unknown. However, it can be accurately estimated based on biblical records. According to the Bible, Jesus died at around 3 p.m., known as “the ninth hour” in Jewish tradition, which was approximately the time of the Jews’ daily evening sacrifices and prayers.
It is also vital to note that during the Passover season, Jews kept a special form of time known as “halachic” or “rabbinical” hours. This type of hour divided the daylight into 12 equal parts, meaning a period from noon to one o’clock counted as two hours instead of one.
The Bible states that Jesus hung on the cross from the third hour until the ninth hour. During this time, He suffered many physical atrocities and verbal insults.
Mark 15:33–34 (NIV) reads, “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon, Jesus called out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?‘ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’).”
Similarly, in Luke 23:44–45 (NIV), it is written that at midday during the sixth hour, darkness fell over all of Judea and continued until 3 p.m., when Jesus died and breathed his last breath:
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 23:46
In What Year Did Jesus Die?
According to the gospel writers in the New Testament, Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem during the week of Passover, with scholars generally suggesting the years 30 or 33 AD as the most likely time for this event. The Bible doesn’t give us an exact date, but it offers us clues that historians and scholars have pieced together.
For instance, the Book of Daniel speaks of “seventy weeks,” a symbolic period that scholars interpret as 490 years leading up to the Messiah’s arrival. By examining historical records, some think this countdown began with a royal decree issued around 454 BC or 445–444 BC.
Adding to this, the Gospel of Luke notes that John the Baptist started preaching in the 15th year of Emperor Tiberius’s rule. Since Tiberius became emperor in 14 AD, we can estimate John’s ministry and, by extension, Jesus’ crucifixion to around 28–29 AD.
The Passover festival in the holy city of Jerusalem, which is determined by the lunar calendar, helps narrow down the year since it falls on different dates each year. While scholars have various opinions, they often agree that Jesus died sometime between 30 and 33 AD. This range is based on a mix of biblical hints, historical context, and the timing of Passover in those years.
Some suggest that this timing supports the Wednesday crucifixion theory, allowing for a full three days and nights before the resurrection, as described in Matthew 12:40.
In essence, while the precise year of Jesus’ death is still a topic of discussion, the consensus leans toward 30 to 33 AD, drawn from careful study of scriptures, history, and the stars above.
How Old Was Jesus When He Died?
Scholars often use clues from the Bible, such as the length of Jesus’ ministry and the timing of Passover, to calculate how old Jesus was when he died. The Gospel of Luke states that during His “thirtieth year” (Luke 3:23), Jesus began preaching, which would place His birth around 4 BC on our modern calendar. If this timeline is correct, then Jesus was 33 at the time of his death in AD 30.
The context of Jesus’ life within Jewish culture also provides evidence for a date range spanning between 29 and 33 A.D. In Judaism, men were considered adults once they turned thirteen and eligible to be married by twenty years old—both facts that align with a thirty-three-year-old man in 1st-century Jewish society.
Significant Events After Jesus Died
After Jesus’ death, several significant events impacted early Christianity and the world. The first event was Pentecost, which occurred fifty days after Jesus died. This event marked the Christian Church’s beginning, as recorded in the second chapter of Acts.
On this day, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, and they spoke in tongues to spread God’s message to a diverse audience. This miraculous experience helped launch the new faith of Christianity into what would become a religion followed by millions worldwide today, particularly the Catholic church.
The second significant event is when Peter proclaimed to Cornelius that “God shows no partiality, but in every nation, whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34–35). This declaration was monumental because it showed that anyone from any nation or background could receive God’s grace and become part of His family.
Peter’s proclamation marked a crucial shift in Christianity, as it opened the door for many people to join regardless of their heritage or ethnicity.
Another significant event was Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Saul, later known as Paul, was zealously persecuting Christians when he encountered Jesus and was converted on the spot (Acts 9:1–19).
This experience gave him a personal understanding of Christ’s power, leading him to become a fierce advocate for the gospel message. He would go on to write much of the New Testament epistles and spread Christianity throughout Europe, helping it become one of the most influential religions in the world.
These three events helped shape the trajectory of Christianity, and they serve as a reminder that God still works in mysterious ways today. His power has spread the gospel message worldwide and brought hope to millions of people who follow Him.
The demise of Jesus stands as a momentous juncture in historical chronicles, yet it was the ensuing occurrences that truly cemented a profound influence.
The event of Pentecost, Peter’s momentous declaration to Cornelius, and Paul’s transformative encounter on his journey to Damascus were instrumental in proliferating the Christian faith across the globe.
These events show us that even today, God is still at work and can use His power to bring people of any background into His family. He is an all-powerful and loving God who continues to shape the world miraculously.