In what year do you think Jesus' crucifixion took place?

Email Received:

In your Good Thursday commentary, I do not see an indication of the year that Jesus was crucified. When do you think this took place?

Ted's Response:

I have seen various years used for Jesus' crucifixion. The most common seem to be 32 to 34 A.D. The problem is that the Gregorian calendar, on which those years are based, was not in effect until 1582 when it was introduced by Pope Gregory. Before that was the Julian calendar, introduced in 46 B.C. And neither one of those was used in first century Israel, when the Hebrew calendar was used.

Also, we don't even know, for certain, in which year Jesus was born. I have seen plausible explanations that He was born in 4 B.C., 7 B.C., and in other years. If Jesus was not born in 0 B.C., then that further complicates coordinating the Hebrew calendar with the Gregorian calendar.

Sometimes, people will state various years on the Gregorian calendar to fit their preconceived notions of when they think or want Jesus to have lived and died. Some will use calendars that "fit" their positions and then point to them as valid support for what they believe.

In my opinion, matching ancient dates with specific days of the week on today's Gregorian calendar is imprecise and speculative, at best. Whenever anyone attempts to use a calendar to "prove" something that took place in ancient times, I immediately am skeptical.

I never have seen a way to be able to coordinate the counting of all of these calendars accurately and effectively. For instance, the Hebraic year is less than a solar year in length, and every few years another month has to be added. For this and other reasons, it becomes extremely difficult to synchronize the dates on the Hebraic calendar, especially centuries or millennia in the past, with exact dates on the Gregorian calendar.

To complicate matters, a fixed arithmetic Hebrew calendar, established in 358 A.D., indicates that some Hebraic feast and holy days cannot fall on certain days of the week. More about this can be found here:

As such, whenever I see someone state that the Passover on which Jesus was crucified took place on a specific date on our Gregorian calendar, I take that with a "grain of salt" rather than accept it without question. Personally, I am willing to wait until Jesus returns and shows us how to match up the dates among all the calendars.

However, we do not need an annual calendar to know the day of the week on which Jesus was crucified. It was on Aviv 10 ("Palm Sunday"), during Holy Week, that the procession of the Passover lambs for Israel were taking place (Exodus 12:3). One lamb was being taken to the temple in Jerusalem to be the public sacrifice for all of Israel, which would be four days later on Aviv 14 (12:6). During that week, Aviv 14 was Passover, which took place on Thursday (Yom Chamishi).

On Palm Sunday, the same crowds of people that welcomed the Passover lambs into Jerusalem also welcomed Jesus, riding on a donkey, into Jerusalem.  He was the Passover Lamb for humanity; and it was on Thursday, Aviv 14, that Christ, our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7b), was crucified and sacrificed for us.

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