The Day of Jesus Crucifixion

Reconcile John 12:1 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

Date of Crucifixion Click this link for a concise Chart of the Date of the Crucifixion

As you will see through this study there is no such thing as a Sunday triumphal entry called Palm Sunday or a date of crucifixion called Good Friday.  This study is about the day of Jesus crucifixion.

First of all the Jewish day does not begin at midnight as does the Gentile day. The Jewish day began at 6:00 p.m. (right around sunset) which is six hours earlier than the Gentile day.  Therefore, the Jewish day begins with the night and ends at sunset after the following daylight hours.  In John we read the following:

“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.” – John 12:1-2

The question this raises is what day was six days before the Passover and what day was the Passover?

The answer is that the Passover, the day of the Lord’s crucifixion, was Wednesday, the 14th day of the first month.  And 6 days before the Passover would have been Thursday, the 8th day of the first month, during the week prior to Jesus’ crucifixion.

To see this, we have to work through the events on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.  On the beginning of the 14th day of the first month, the Lord and his disciples ate what we refer to as the Last Supper.  They ate it at night before his crucifixion.  Remember, though, that this night was the Passover because at sunset, or 6:00 p.m., the Jewish day of the Passover began.

On a Jewish calendar, Passover was on the 14th day of the 1st month (Exodus 12:2-3). The lamb was to be slain in the evening of the 14th day (Exodus 12:6). The time defined by the Jewish calendar as evening was from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., during the last watch of the day. Therefore, the slaying of the lamb was one of the last things done on that day of Passover.

So, when Jesus died at 3 p.m. on the day of his crucifixion and was placed in Joseph’s tomb by night fall, we can calculate the day that he died by figuring the amount of time he was in the tomb and working backwards from his resurrection.  We know from Matt. 12:40 that Jesus said He would be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  And we also know that before sunrise on Sunday morning, the two Mary’s discovered the angel sitting on the stone rolled back from the entrance to the sepulcher (Matt. 28:1-6).  As it turns out, the angel doesn’t roll back the stone to let Jesus out, but to let the world know that he wasn’t there.  He had already risen during the night before that Sunday dawn.  In actuality, he rose at the beginning of the first day of the week, which was immediately after sunset Saturday night (right after 6 p.m.).

Now working backwards three full days and three full nights from the resurrection of Jesus here is what we have:

  • All of the daytime on Saturday (the 3rd day, sunrise Sat. to sunset Sat.)
  • All of Saturday night (the 3rd night, sunset Fri. to sunrise Sat.)
  • All of the daytime on Friday (the 2nd day, sunrise Fri. to sunset Fri.)
  • All of Friday night (the 2nd night, sunset Thurs. to sunrise Fri.)
  • All of the daytime on Thursday (the 1st day, sunrise Thurs. to sunset Thurs.) This Thursday was also considered a Sabbath day, the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, so that there were two Sabbath days during Passover week (Thursday and Saturday).
  • All of Thursday night (the 1st night, sunset Wed. to sunrise Thurs.) Jesus is placed in the tomb shortly before sunset. Because of John 19:31, we know that the Jews did not want bodies to be hanging on the cross on Thursday, the Holy Day of Convocation (Exodus 12:16).
  • Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. on the 14th day of the first month Jesus is pierced in the side during the crucifixion. This happens at the same time that the high priest is piercing the Passover lamb as a sacrifice (Matt. 27:51).

The Lord’s Supper took place early on the night between the end of the day on Tuesday and the daylight hours on Wednesday.  Also, during this Wednesday night, Jesus was arrested and taken to the high priest.  He was crucified, died and was buried during the daylight hours on Wednesday.  After the daylight hours on Wednesday, the first day of the feast of unleavened bread began. Thus, the Wednesday Passover was also called the day of preparation for the feast (John 19:31, Luke 23:54, 22:8, Matt. 26:17, Luke 22:7).

Unlike our current Gentile method of tracking the day and night of a 24-hour period, the Jews placed the evening portion of a 24-hour period prior to the morning portion. This is why in Genesis 1:5 the evening is placed before the morning, And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead“ – John 12:1

Six days before Passover is the 8th day of the first month since the 14th day of the month is the day that the Passover lamb was killed.  Since Wednesday is the day that Jesus was crucified, then the 8th day was Thursday of the prior week.  During that daytime on Thursday He came to Bethany. Then the night after the daytime of Thursday, He has supper with Lazarus and his family in John 12:2.  That is the beginning of the 9th day of the month of Abib.  The next day is the daytime of Friday when He arrived in Jerusalem amid palm branches, went into the temple to look and then returned to Bethany (John 12:12, Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:11). The next day, Saturday, He headed back from Bethany to the temple (Mark 11:12) and threw the moneychangers out of the temple because they were doing business on the Sabbath day (Mark 11:15, Neh. 15:20, Isaiah 58).  Following the cleansing of the temple Jesus went back to Bethany where he spent the night (between Saturday and Sunday, Mark 11:19, Matt. 21:17).  The next day, during the daytime period of Sunday, the 11th day of the 1st month, He went back to the temple (Mark 11:20, 11:27, Luke 21:2). And then the Bible says, Ye know that after two days (Mon. & Tues.) is the feast of the Passover (Wed.), and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” (Matt. 26:1-2, Mark 14:1). “After two days” puts us back on Wednesday, the day of the Lord’s Supper and the day of his crucifixion.

So, you see, there is no Palm Sunday because Jesus’ triumphal entry was on Friday and there is no Good Friday because he died on Wednesday.  There is no other way to reconcile these verses.