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Probable Timing of Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection

A graduate of Master in Education, a freelance devotional insight writer, a published writer and a former university/college professor.


It is springtime season once again and one of the major highlights of spring season is the blessed season of lent. How I love the celebration of the Lenten Season. Since childhood I always anticipate the coming of this blessed season of lent. It is during this particular season that I get chances to view favorite Bible stories and Jesus films on TV. This season creates a feeling of serenity in my heart that I really love. During this season, I find it best to reflect again on the passion week of Christ.

As I examine closely the biblical passages pertaining to the passion of Christ I discovered fresh revelations or insights regarding the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Here are some of the fresh insights I discovered upon examining the biblical passages on the passion week of Christ.

On Christ Death and Resurrection, Jesus died on Holy Wednesday not Good Friday and resurrected on Sabbath not Sunday.

Based on my close examination of the Scriptures, it is revealed that Christ died on Wednesday afternoon at three P.M., and resurrected on the following Sabbath before sundown. What made me conclude this? The verse that supports this argument is found on Matthew 12:40, the Sign of Jonah.

"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Based on Matthew 28:1-6, it was after Sabbath at dawn, on the first day of the week (Sunday) that Mary Magdalene and other Mary discovered the empty tomb of Jesus. Jesus have had resurrected already before these two women went to the tomb at dawn. If Jesus died on Friday afternoon, then this is not consistent with Matthew 12:40. Friday afternoon up to Sunday dawn does not sum up to three days and three nights. Wednesday afternoon up to Saturday afternoon does add up to three days and three nights. Three days - daytime of thursday, Friday and Saturday while three nights - night time of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and His body did not spend night time on Saturday but resurrected before Saturday sundown. Thus when the women arrived at the tomb on Sunday dawn, the Lord had already resurrected. The argument that the Lord died on Thursday and resurrected on Sunday is also not consistent with Matthew 12:40. If the Lord died on Thusday afternoon, to be consistent with the sign of Jonah He must resurrect on Sunday before sundown but it was indicated in Matthew 28 that by Sunday dawn, He has already resurrected. Thus the Good Friday or Thursday crucifixion is not supported by the Scripture.

Based on the account of Matthew as recorded in Matthew chapters 21 up to 28, the passion week of Christ took place during the celebration of Passover week. Based on certain sources, Christ entered Jerusalem on Nisan 10. This was the time when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey while the crowd were waving their palm branches to greet Him. The Passover night is celebrated on Nisan 14. In Israel, the new day starts after sundown and lasts until next sundown of the following day. Their daytime lasts for 12 hours from 6 am until 6 pm. Their nighttime lasts for another 12 hours from 6 pm until 6 am. It is indicated in the Scripture that Jesus died on the ninth hour of the day which is actually three in the afternoon.

Some early historical documents reveal a Tuesday night Passover and a Wednesday afternoon crucifixion and a Saturday sunset resurrection. About the year 200, a document claiming to pass on apostolic instruction called "Didascalia Apostolorum, mentions that the last Passover of Jesus Christ and His disciples was a Tuesday night. This information was taken from an article published in Beyond Today written by Mario Seiglie on April 2, 2006.

Drawing a conjecture regarding the probable year the crucifixion of Christ actually took place, an article written by Jimmy Akin on April 10, 2013 and published on National Catholic Register provides several clues. First clue pertains to the years of high priest Caiaphas occupation in office, about AD 18 to AD 36. Second clue pertains to the years of Pilate's occupation in office, AD 26 to AD 36. Third clue pertains to the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, AD 28 to AD 36. From AD 28 to AD 36, there are two Passover nights which fall on Tuesday evening, Tuesday March 27 AD 31 and Tuesday April 12, AD 35.

According to Luke 3:23, Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His ministry. It was about 28 AD, the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar when John the baptist started heralding the coming of the Messiah as recorded in Luke chapter 3:1-3. History records that Tiberius Caesar reigned as Roman emperor during AD 14 to 37 AD. Thus Jesus started His public ministry in 28 AD. John the beloved Apostle records three Passover with Jesus. From here we can deduce that Jesus spent about three years in public ministry before He was crucified. Scholars believed He died at the age of 33. We can therefore conclude that March 27 AD 31, Wednesday at 3 P.M. is the most probable timing of His crucifixion and was resurrected three days after on March 30, a sabbath before sundown.

Wednesday is the middle of the week. It was the day when our sin was judged on the cross. God is righteous and must judge sin, but He must also judge the world in righteousness. At the cross, the wrath of God was poured out on Christ instead on us. (An excerpt from "Knowing Jesus").

In the very near future, in the middle of the seven-year Tribulation Period, the Lord will begin pouring down His wrath upon the whole world. This is what the Bible calls "the Day of the Lord." The prophet Isaiah gives an account of the Lord's devastation of the earth in Isaiah chapter 24.

"The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder,

the earth is violently shaken.

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The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind.

so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion

that it falls never to rise again."

Isaiah 24: 19 - 20

God reserves His judgement on all those who rejected the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and on all those who lived in wickedness and lawlessness.You need not experience the wrath of God if you will acknowledge Christ as the Savior and Lord of your life. At the cross, Christ's blood was shed for our redemption. At the cross, Christ has borne all the pain that we may receive God's forgiveness and the gift of eternal life.

To receive God's forgiveness and the gift of eternal life, a person must first acknowledge his sinfulness before God. It is written in Roman 3:23;

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

All men have failed in God's standard of perfect righteousness. Man is born with a sinful nature that it is impossible for him to meet God's standard of holiness. With sinful nature, a man is bound to live a sinful life. Galatians 5:19 to 21 records the evidence of this sinful nature.

"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Galatians 5:19-21 NIV

It is written in Romans 6: 23,

"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Man's sinful life will only lead him to the ultimate judgement "the Lake of Fire," the second death as it is written in Revelation 21:8.

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

To be delivered from this judgement and receive God's pardon, a person must put his faith on Christ's sacifice on the cross as the only acceptable sacrifice for the remission of his sin. It is written in the Scripture, " without shedding of the blood, there is no forgiveness of sin."(Hebrews 9:22). Christ's sacrifice on the cross is perfect, complete and sufficient and the only acceptable sacrifice to God. (Hebrews 9:26-28).

As part of putting our faith in Christ, it is of great importance that we abandon our sinful, self-centered and worldly lifestyle and surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ as it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:15,

"And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."


Cristina Santander (author) from Manila on March 21, 2021:

Have a blessed season of lent to all !! May you experience the glory of Christ this coming Holy Week.

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