Many Christians and people, in general, have the assumption that Jesus Christ lived and died a very long time ago. It may be shocking to know that the Son of Man walked on the Earth not that far back in time! This doesn’t come as a surprise since Christianity focuses on the purpose of Jesus’ death instead of the semantics. Although they are still important, you may not know when exactly he died and could be asking yourself: What year was Jesus crucified?
According to the estimations of scholars and historians, Jesus Christ was crucified in either April AD 30 or April AD 33. Although the Bible does not give a specific year of death, historical facts and biblical references have been pieced together to develop these two options.
How long ago was Jesus Christ crucified? Does the Bible give any information on the year of Jesus’ death? How about history? Can any historical clues point to Jesus’ crucifixion year? Expect to get detailed answers to these questions in this article. We shall also look at the evidence raised to support that Jesus Christ died in both April AD 30 and April AD 33.
How Long Ago Was Jesus Crucifixion?
Christian scholars have used Biblical references and historical clues to describe Jesus Christ’s death in AD 30 or 33. As of 2022, that is 1,992 or 1,989 years ago. In 2023, it will be 1,990 or 1,993 years ago, and so forth. Many assume that Jesus Christ walked among men long ago, but that is not the case! It has not even been 2,000 years since His death at 33.
Historians have relied on facts such as the governance at the time of Jesus’ life and other key Biblical figures to decipher the approximate time Jesus died on the Cross to save mankind. In the Bible, the crucifixion is found in the New Testament Gospels, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Matthew 27: 45-50, John 19: 28-37, 13-18, Matthew 27:24, Luke 23:39-46).
Does the Bible Say the Year Jesus Died?
An account of Jesus Christ’s death is given in the Gospels. All the Gospels give testimony to His death being on a Friday, sometime around the Passover, which is a Jewish celebration. Jesus died on the Day of Preparation, the day before Passover. The celebration was the next day, on Saturday. This is in Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, and John 19:42. Jesus had the Last Supper with His disciples and was crucified the next day. The Bible does not explicitly state the death year of Jesus Christ. Theologians, scholars, and historians have instead linked Biblical clues and historical facts to approximate the exact year Jesus Christ was crucified. There is still a bone of contention on the matter, though. Some think He was killed in the spring of AD 33, while others believe it was in April AD 30. But as the Church teaches, it is not detrimental to one’s salvation if they take one year to be the year of His death over the other. It has no theological significance.
Are There Historical Clues That Show the Precise Year of Jesus’ Crucifixion?
Some historical clues point to when exactly Jesus Christ was crucified. For example, Jesus lived and died during the reign of Tiberius when Pontius Pilate was Judea’s governor, and Caiaphas was Jerusalem’s, High Priest. Additionally, Herod Antipas was the ruler of Galilee. This is evidenced in Luke 3: 1-2, which states, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilen during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” Using this information, historians have placed the period of their governance to be between AD 14 and AD 36. With Pontius Pilate being a key figure in the crucifixion, his reign was between AD 26 and AD 36.
In the above verses, the book of Luke states that John the Baptist started his ministry during that government. The fifteenth year of Tiberius’ domain was from mid-AD 28 or AD 29. This would mean that Jesus also began His ministry around the same time after baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). Some historians state it was a few months after John the Baptist.
Jesus spread the Gospel for three and a half years. This is according to John 2:13, 6:4, and 11:55-57, which state that Jesus attended at least three Passover feasts which are annual events. With His ministry starting in AD 29 and lasting 3.5 years, He was approximately crucified on Friday, April 3, AD 33. He died right before Passover, according to Mark 14:12 “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
Why Do Some People Believe That Jesus Was Crucified in April 30 AD?
Some Christians are not convinced that Jesus died in AD 33; they are of the school of thought that it was actually in April AD 30. Let’s have a look at some reasons why.
Since Jesus Christ started His ministry shortly after John the Baptist, some historians calculate that His baptism may have been in late AD 28 at the very earliest date and AD 30 at the latest. His death would be in AD 30 if one chooses to go with AD 28 and the belief that He ministered for two years, which scholars have said is possible.
Also, the death of Jesus occurred around the annual Passover festival, according to Matthew 26:2, Mark 14:1, John 18:39, and Luke 22:1. The Gospels explain that the Passover began on a Friday evening when the authorities led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Phaetorium (John 18:28-29). Christian and Jewish historians have narrowed all Fridays when Passover began between AD 29 and 36 to two dates: Friday, April 7, AD 30, and Friday, April 3, AD 33. This has given reason for some to believe that Jesus could have died on April 30 AD.
People also believe that the accurate death year of Jesus Christ was AD 30 because the AD 33 date relates to neither the death of Herod Antipas the Great, the events recorded in the Book of Acts, nor Paul’s life.
Some have tried to debunk the AD 30 death year by saying simple mathematics will not allow the 15 years of Tiberius’ rule and Jesus’ 3-year ministry to fit between AD 14 and AD 30. But proponents of this death year have theorized that Tiberius and his predecessor had some sort of joint reign between AD 10 and AD 14. There isn’t any historical evidence to back this up, however.
- The Death of Jesus
- In What Year Did Jesus Die?
- What Was the Length of Jesus’s Public Ministry?
- April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died
- The Date of the Crucifixion
- When Did Jesus Die? The Year, Day & Time
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.