9. The year Jesus was crucified

‘In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar…. the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert’ (Luke 3:1, 2).

As shown in The fifteenth year of Tiberias’ reign, this was from 2 September 28 AD to 1 September 29 AD.

Therefore John the Baptist commenced his ministry in the time period 2 September 28 AD to 1 September 29 AD.

John’s gospel recorded two visits by Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover during his early ministry years (John 2:13, 6:4). Matthew, Luke and John recorded details of his final visit (Mat. 26:2, Luke 22:1, John 11:55).

In the Gospel accounts of the disciples plucking the grain on a Sabbath (Mat. 12:1-2, Mark 2:23-24, Luke 6:1-2), only Luke added the qualifier ‘on the second Sabbath after the first’ (Luke 6:1) [The New King James Bible ©1982]. Matthew Henry in his commentary in the 18th century, wrote: “This story here (Luke 6:1-11) has a date, which we had not in the other evangelists; it was on the second sabbath after the first (Luke 6:1), that is, as Dr. Whitby thinks is pretty clear, the first sabbath after the second day of unleavened bread, from which day they reckoned the seven weeks to the feast of pentecost; the first of which they called Sabbaton deuteroprōton, the second deuterodeuteron, and so on.”

If there had been a Passover the previous week, then during Jesus’ ministry years there were four Passovers: John 2:13, Luke 6:1, John 6:4; and the final Passover: Mat. 26:2, Luke 22:1 and John 11:55. In any case, to pluck and eat grain, it must have been springtime, and the Passover coincided with the start of spring.

Both 1Steinmann and 2Hoehner concluded that Jesus’ ministry started in the summer or autumn of 29 AD and ended with his crucifixion at the Passover in 33 AD.

All four gospels agree that Jesus was crucified on a Preparation Day, which is the day before a Sabbath (Mat. 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:42). We know it was a Saturday Sabbath, as the next day was Sunday, the first day of the week (Mat. 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1).

Which means Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

The gospels also agree that Jesus was crucified at the time of the Passover (Mat. 26:2, Mark 14:1, Luke 22:1, John 18:39). In 33 AD the Passover started at sunset on the Thursday and ended at sunset on the Friday. Jesus and his disciples ate their Passover meal on the Thursday night after sunset.

In the Jewish calendar, sunset marked the end on one day and the start of the next. Between 29 AD and 36 AD, the only Passovers which started at sunset on a Thursday were 7 April 30 AD and 3 April 33 AD.

If Jesus’ ministry started in 29 AD, a crucifixion in 30 AD is too early, so the crucifixion would have been at the Passover in 33 AD.

In conclusion, Jesus was crucified on Friday 3 April 33 AD.

That also means Jesus’ ministry years extended from sometime in 29 AD, to the Passover in 33 AD, about three and a half years.

According to Numbers 4:3 and 4:30, only men thirty years and over could serve as a priest. If Jesus was born in December 3 BC, he would have been thirty years at the start of 29 AD. [For information on the birth of Jesus, go to The year Jesus was born].

Using different reasoning, both 1Steinmann and 2Hoehner reach the same conclusion, that Jesus’ ministry started in 29 AD and ended at the Passover in 33 AD.

References
1Dr Andrew Steinmann, Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Concordia University Chicago, “From Abraham To Paul: A Biblical Chronology” 2011
2Dr Harold W. Hoehner, Dallas Theological Seminary, “Chronological Aspects Of The Life Of Christ” 1975

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  6.   The conception of the Lord Jesus
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For a series of reflections on
Jesus the Messiah: Son of God and Son of Man
go to Jesus the Messiah: Son of God and Son of Man

For a series of reflections on
The Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ
go to The Cross of Christ

For a series of reflections on
God’s Plan of Redemption
go to God’s Plan of Redemption

For a series of reflections on
The Holy Spirit and the Person of the Lord Jesus
go to The Holy Spirit and the Person of the Lord Jesus

For a Christian Prayer for Healing
go to Prayer for Healing

For a series of reflections on
Jesus: Teller of Tall Tales and Home Truths
go to Jesus: Teller of Tall Tales and Home Truths

For a discussion on
Jesus and the Surrogate Family of God
go to Jesus and the Surrogate Family of God

John 20:31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture verses are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version, Thompson Chain Reference Anglicised Edition, published by Hodder & Stoughton Limited, ©1984.