Did Jesus Die on Thursday or Friday?

last supper

Jesus and the twelve apostles on maundy Thursday at the Last Supper. This window is located in the cathedral of Brussels and was created in 1866. The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles on rational understanding of Easter

The Day Christ Died — Was it on a Thursday or Friday?

Source: Huffington Post

Professor of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Later Christian tradition put Jesus’ last meal with his disciples on Thursday evening and his crucifixion on what we call today “Good Friday.” We now know that is one day off. Jesus’ last meal was Wednesday night, and he was crucified on Thursday, the 14th of the Hebrew month Nisan. The Passover meal itself was eaten Thursday night, at sundown, as the 15th of Nisan began. Jesus never ate that Passover meal. He had died at 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.

The reason it matters is that getting the chronology straight that weekend enables us to understand the early tradition that Jesus was in the tomb “three days and three nights,” as well as the chronology of the “Last Supper” and the Passover and how the Sabbaths and festival days correlate together that year. This alternative chronology makes all our pieces fit from our various sources, including the Synoptic Gospels, John, and the Gospel of Peter.

The confusion arose because all the gospels say that there was a rush to get his body off the cross and buried before sundown because the “Sabbath” was near. Everyone assumed the reference to “the Sabbath” had to be Saturday — so the crucifixion must have been on a Friday. However, as Jews know, the day of Passover itself is also a “Sabbath” or rest day — no matter what weekday it falls on. In the year 30 AD Friday, the 15th of the Jewish month Nisan was also a Sabbath — so two Sabbaths occurred back to back — Friday and Saturday. Matthew seems to know this as he says that the women who visited Jesus’ tomb came early Sunday morning “after the Sabbaths” (Matthew 28:1).

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2 replies

  1. Does it really matter on which day Jesus is supposed to have died. It’s all symbolic. Much the same as Christmas. The whole story of Christianity was created by St Paul based on Roman festivals and pagan mythology, Easter being the celebration of Spring and rebirth of nature, and Christmas/New Year represents the changing seasons/new light or the Winter Solstice. All worth celebrating. A figure such as Jesus offering a moral compass or guidance for humans has a place in life, and many find peace and contentment in that belief, whilst others find their own path, religious or not.

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