Dating the crucifixion nature 306

Mark, then, relates that Jesus was crucified at 9 a.m.on the morning of Passover day (Friday, 15 Nisan), after the Passover meal the night before.Both men were virulently anti-Jewish: Sejanus "desirous to destroy our nation" (Philo, On the Embassy to Gaius, XXIV.160; Against Flaccus, I.1) and Pilate determined "to abolish the Jewish laws" (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII.3.1).


For Jesus to have died on a Friday when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judaea, 14 Nisan would have to be either April 7, AD 30or, more probably, April 3, AD 33, when there also was a lunar eclipse as the full moon rose above Jerusalem, thus fulfilling the prophecy quoted by Peter that "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come" (Acts ).

A lamb was to be kept "until the fourteenth day of the same month" (12:6), when, on this "Day of Preparation" (14 Nisan), it was slain that afternoon in anticipation of the Passover meal later that evening (Leviticus 23:5, Numbers ).

The meal itself was eaten after sunset (at moonrise) on what was the start of Passover day (15 Nisan), which extended to sunset the next day.

John, however, writes that Jesus died "before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father" (13:1, ).

There is no preparation nor mention of a communion; rather, "supper being ended," Jesus washed the feet of his disciples (13:2,5) and, echoing Moses, gave them a new commandment: to love one another ().

To reconcile these accounts, Humphreys has suggested that Jesus, no doubt aware of his imminent arrest, did not have the Passover meal on Thursday evening but a last supper on Wednesday, the night before.


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