Jesus of Nazareth continues to captive people all over the world 2,000 years after he lived on earth. People are interested to know as many details about his life as they can. Scholars of the Gospels are able to sketch a reliable timeline of Jesus’ life with significant detail. This helps answer the question about when Jesus was crucified.
Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross in the Spring of 30 A.D. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John devote a lot of space in each of their Gospels to the last week of Jesus’ life, in which they provide important details that shed light on the date of his death. Some believe Jesus’ death occurred on April 7th.
How do scholars know the year and season of Jesus’ crucifixion? What details in the Gospels are they using to construct a timeline? Do any theological issues depend on the exact year Jesus died? Why do some believe Jesus died on April 7, 30 AD? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also see Why Was Jesus Christ Crucified? to learn more.
Dating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ
The table below lists significant periods in the last year of Jesus’ life, leading up to his crucifixion. The year and season are based on information compiled from all four Gospels, which mention events like annual festivals and celebrations, and various rulers and governors, which can help date different scenes.
|Jesus feeds 5,000||29 A.D. (Spring)||Matt. 14:13-21|
|Jesus transfiguration||29 A.D. (Summer)||Matt. 17:1-13|
|Jesus attends the Festival of Tabernacles||29 A.D. (Fall)||John 7:11-52|
|Jesus begins his last trip to Jerusalem||30 A.D. (Winter)||Luke 17:11|
|Jesus resurrects Lazarus||30 A.D. (Winter)||John 11:1-44|
|Jesus is crucified and resurrected||30 A.D. (Spring)||John 19:17-42|
For timelines on Jesus’ early life and the first two years of his ministry, see below.
Who was ruling when Jesus died? The Gospels reveal that Jesus was crucified during the reigns of the Roman governor, Pilate (26-36 AD), the Jewish high priest, Caiaphas (18-36 AD), and the Roman Tetrarch, Herod Antipas (4 BC-AD 37). Knowing these facts helps scholars date Jesus’ crucifixion.
Do some scholars believe that Jesus died in 33 AD? Yes. Some Gospel scholars believe that Jesus died in 33 AD. However, the majority view of those who construct reliable timelines of the Gospels’ details is that his crucifixion occurred in 30 AD. It’s further argued that what is known about events after the crucifixion with regard to events in Acts and Paul’s life fit better with the 30 AD date.
Do any theological issues depend on the year of Jesus’ death? No. The person and work of Jesus Christ have the same theological significance no matter what year he died. Nothing about the atonement hinges upon the exact year, month, or day that Jesus died.
Also see How Long Did Jesus Hang On the Cross? to learn more.
Chronicling the last two days of Jesus’ life
What day did Jesus die? Mark records that after Jesus was nailed to the cross, cried out to the offer, and offered sour wine to drink, “he uttered a loud cry and breathed his last” (15:37). He then writes that on the same day, Joseph of Arimathea got permission from Pilate to take Jesus’ body down and bury it.
“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)
|Time of Day||Event|
|Thursday evening||The Last Supper|
|Jesus prays in Gethsemane|
|Judas betrays Jesus|
|Jesus is arrested|
|Late Thursday, Early Friday||Jesus appears before Annas|
|Jesus appears before Caiaphas|
|Peter denies Jesus three times|
What annual celebration was happening when Jesus was crucified? The “day of Preparation” as Mark calls it, is the day before the Sabbath, which means that Jesus died on a Friday.
Mark has already informed readers that this occurred at the time of the Passover celebration (cf. 14:12, 14, 16), which was celebrated annually on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, based on the appearance of the new moon.
|Time of Day||Event|
|Friday morning||The Sanhedrin meets|
|Jesus appears before Pilate|
|Jesus appears before Herod|
|Jesus appears before Pilate again|
|Friday midday||Jesus is crucified|
|Friday midafternoon||Jesus dies|
|Friday near sundown||Jesus is buried|
Why do some believe Jesus died on April 7, 30 AD? Some scholars believe that astronomical data is reliable enough to calculate when the 15th of the month of Nisan occurred in AD 30. Using the months and days based on the Gregorian Calendar, they estimate that Jesus died on April 7.
Also see How Many Years Has It Been Since Jesus Died? to learn more.
Dating the life and ministry of Jesus Christ
Jesus’ Early Life – Birth to Adolescence: 5 B.C. to 8 A.D.
|Jesus is born||5-6 B.C.||Matt. 1:24-25|
|Jesus, Mary, and Joseph flee to Egypt||3-4 B.C.||Matt. 2:1-12|
|Adolescent Jesus teaches in the temple||7-8 A.D.||Luke 2:46-47|
The Inauguration of Jesus’ Ministry: 27 A.D.
|John the Baptist baptizes Jesus||26-27 A.D.||Matt. 3:13-17|
|Jesus’ first miracle at Cana||26-27 A.D.||John 2:1-11|
|Jesus is tempted in the wilderness||26-27 A.D.||Matt. 4:1-11|
|Jesus cleanses the temple||27 A.D. (Winter)||John 2:13-15|
|Jesus meets Nicodemus||27 A.D. (Winter)||John 3:1-21|
|Jesus meets the Samaritan woman||27 A.D. (Winter)||John 4:5-42|
|Jesus begins to preach in Galilee||27 A.D. (Fall)||Luke 4:42-44|
The Time of Popularity: 28 A.D.
|Jesus chooses 12 disciples||28 A.D. (Winter)||Mark 3:13-19|
|Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount||28 A.D. (Spring)||Matt. 5:1-7:29|
|Jesus ministers in Galilee again||28 A.D. (Summer)||Luke 8:1-3|
|Jesus sends out the 12||28 A.D. (Fall)||Matt. 9:35-11:1|
|Jesus calms the storm||28 A.D. (Fall)||Luke 8:22-25|
Also see What Time Did Jesus Christ Die? to learn more.
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