If we use August 14 A.D. as the date Tiberius Caesar began his reign [Luke 3:1], then Christ was about 30 years old when He was baptized in the fall of 29 A.D. [Luke 3:23]. Since Christ’s ministry lasted 3 ½ years, we know he died in the spring of 33 A.D. 29 A.D In the fall, Christ was baptized and entered His ministry. 33 A.D. In the spring of 33, Christ died.
A third difficulty in determining the date of Christ’s death is that the Jews had two calendars, a lunar calendar and a solar calendar. The Essene Community at Qumran used the solar calendar and the priests used the lunar calendar. The Scripture is clear that Jesus ate the Passover and yet had to be taken down before the Passover [John 18:28]. The Pharisees were taking care to not be unclean so that they could eat the Passover. The only logical possibility is that there were two Passovers—an Essene Passover and the Passover of the Jews [John 6:4].
If I have figured the dates correctly using the lunar calendar, Christ died on Wednesday, the 14th of Nissan, 33 A.D. If the 1st of Nissan [the new moon] was on Thursday, March 19, 33 A.D., then the 14th of Nissan would start on Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM and end at 5:59 PM on Wednesday, the 14th of Nissan. The daylight hours of the 14th of Nissan would have been on Wednesday, April 1, 33 A.D. The date of Christ’s death could have been on Wednesday, April 1, 33 A.D.; i.e., the 14th of Nissan, 33 A.D.
Christ celebrated an Essene Passover on TUESDAY EVENING, the 14th of Nissan. The disciples were apparently led by an Essene carrying a jug of water late Tuesday afternoon to a room used by Essenes while they were in Jerusalem [Mark 14:31]. There the Lord celebrated a Passover meal and infused it with new meaning — the Lord’s Supper. Jesus was arrested and tried Tuesday night by the temple police. On WEDNESDAY MORNING at 9:00 AM, the 14th of Nissan, our Lord was crucified. At 12:00 PM, our sins were imputed to Him. Christ died at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, the 14th of Nissan, April 1, 33 A.D. The Passover lambs were slain about 3:00 PM on Wednesday, the 14th of Nissan. Jewish families ate the Passover meal on WEDNESDAY EVENING, the 15th of Nissan. Thus, is revealed the glorious truth, “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” [1 Corinthians 5:7].
Dr. Brook Stockton currently leads an unregistered home church in Albuquerque, N.M. His e mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.