What year did Jesus die?

The Bible doesn't detail when Jesus was born or when He died, but we can figure it out based on other historical facts.

Herod the Great was ruler over Judaea from 47 BC until his death in 4 BC. After Herod died, Joseph and Mary were once again visited by an angel and told it was safe to return to the area (Matthew 2:19–23).

From these times we can say that Jesus was born between 6 and 4 BC (For more on BC and AD, please see our article "What do BC and AD (B.C. and A.D.) stand for?").

Luke 3:1 says that John the Baptist started his ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius' reign—that's about AD 26. Tiberius started reigning, as co-regent with Augustus Caesar, in AD 12, though he wasn't named emperor until AD 14. As we read the Gospels, we see that Jesus began His ministry soon after John did and taught and healed for about three and a half years. Thus Jesus finished His ministry on earth about AD 29 or 30.

We also know that Pontius Pilate ruled Judea from AD 26—36 and Jesus' death was during the Passover feast (Mark 14:12). The Jewish calendar that determined feast days was lunar-based. In combining all this information, we arrive at either April 7 AD 30 or April 3 AD 33 for the crucifixion date. There are scholarly arguments for both. If Jesus was executed in AD 33, His ministry would have been longer than three and a half years and would have started at least a year later than when John began his ministry. Most scholars believe Jesus died in AD 30.

It is true that the event of God coming to earth as a man, living a sinless life, dying on the cross as propitiation for our sins, and rising back to life is the central, pivot point of history. The precise dates of Jesus' birth or His death are not important. What is important is that each person realizes the significance of Jesus dying on the cross for their sins, then rising again in power over even death (Colossians 1:21–22). God has offered us new life and a future with Him (1 Peter 1:3). All we must do is put our faith in Him as our Savior and Lord and we will be saved (John 3:16–18; Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8–9).


Related Truth:

What was the length of Jesus' public ministry?

Who is responsible for Jesus Christ's death?

What year was Jesus Christ born?

What do we know about the real, historical Jesus? Who is Jesus?

Is the resurrection of Jesus true? Was Jesus Christ really resurrected?


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