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The Actual Date of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Easter has come and gone but we still celebrate the Easter season until Pentecost. Unlike Christmas, the dates of Easter and Pentecost change each year based on a lunar calendar set in motion in 325 CE at the Council of Nicaea. It is held the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox. Having realized that, have you ever been curious about the actual dates of the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ? No one knows the exact dates for sure, however evidence suggests Jesus died on April 3, and rose from the dead on April 5, 33 AD.

The Gospel of Matthew suggests Jesus was killed in Jerusalem under the rule of the High Priest Caiaphas. History shows him to be the high priest from 18-36 AD. In addition, all Gospels state Pontius Pilate ordered the death of Jesus while he governed Judea from 26-36 AD.

The Gospel of Luke tells how the word of God came to John, the son of Zachariah, in the wilderness in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. This is a reference to St. John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in the year 29 AD.

All Gospels refer to the Crucifixion occurring on a Friday, or the day of preparation before the Sabbath. All four Gospels also tell how the Crucifixion occurred in conjunction with the annual feast of Passover. Further evidence in the Gospel of John says the High Priest did not enter the praetorium so he would not be defiled and remain able to eat the Passover meal, so Pilate initially met him outside. This entire episode suggests Passover during the year of the Crucifixion began at sundown on a Friday. Between the years 29 AD and 36 AD Passover commenced on Friday twice; April 7, 30 AD and April 3, 33 AD. Since we believe Jesus was baptized at the beginning of his three year ministry, the 33 AD date becomes more likely when pinpointing Jesus’ death and resurrection. Therefore, Jesus likely died at 3:00 PM (according to three Gospels) on Friday, April 3 and rose from the dead Sunday morning April 5, 33 AD.

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