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What does the Bible Say About … WHEN JESUS DIED?

What day of the week did Jesus die, was it really Friday?

Jesus said that He would rise from the dead three days and nights after his death – Matthew 12:40. But it is not possible to fit this period between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. The Bible never says that He died on a Friday, just that He died on the day before a Sabbath, which is not the same thing. Not all of the “Sabbaths” were the weekly ones (i.e. the seventh day of the week). There were special “Sabbaths” or Holy Days linked specifically to the Feasts of the Lord. These were called “High Sabbaths”. John points out that the Sabbath immediately following Jesus’ death was a High Sabbath – John 19:31. We are able to ascertain that this was the High Sabbath of the Passover or Unleavened Bread – see Exodus 12:16. This was the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nisan.

The Jewish day starts at Sunset (roughly 6pm). We know that Jesus died at 3pm on the afternoon of 14th day of Nisan, which is the Day of Preparation for the Passover. In Jesus’ time this was called the Preparation Day – Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14, 42. This occurs on the day immediately before the commencement of Festival of Unleavened Bread. On the Preparation Day, the Passover Lamb was slaughtered, prior to the preparation and cooking of the Passover meal (the Seder), which was ceremonially eaten that evening. This was immediately following the commencement of the new day – at 6pm on the 15th day of Nisan, which was the High Sabbath (Holy Convocation, or sacred assembly). Leviticus 23:4-8

Jewish Festivals such as Passover/Unleavened Bread, do not occur on the same day of the week each year, but are known as moveable feasts. We are told that Jesus was risen on the first day of the week – Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:9. There is another festival (Firstfruits – see Leviticus 23:10-11) during the week of Unleavened Bread, which occurs on the day after the weekly Sabbath that occurs during the Week of Unleavened Bread. Thus the Festival of the Firstfruits, a picture of “new life” or “resurrection, always occurred on the first day of the normal week.

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, while it was still dark, i.e. well before 6am, by which time Jesus had already risen, see John 20:1, thus He would have been risen any time after 6pm on the first day of the week (i.e. on the Festival of Firstfruits), or up to three hours prior to that. Keep in mind the understanding that the Jewish day commences at sunset (about 6pm). So at virtually any time between 3pm on the weekly Sabbath, and say 4am the next morning – “the first day of the week” – Jesus was already risen from the dead. Matthew 28:1 confirms that there was more than one Sabbath day between Jesus’ death and resurrection, by the use of the Greek plural sabbatoon (Sabbaths), which is incorrectly rendered singular in our English translations. This verse should read; “Now after the Sabbaths, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.”

Tracking back three days and nights, from 6pm on the first day of the week, or Saturday evening, we come to 6pm – full three days previously – to the time by which Jesus had been hastily buried, having died three hours earlier at 3pm on 14th of Nisan, which was – a Wednesday. Some people, while trying to reconcile the above facts, have claimed that Jesus may have died on a Thursday. However, this cannot be correct because Thursday is one of the three days in the week that the 14th of Nisan does not coincide. According to the standard calculations of the Jewish festival calendar the 14th of Nisan can fall on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, but not on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

Matthew 27:62-66 provides further information, pointing out that the Chief Priests and the Pharisees had a meeting with Pilate on the day that “followed the Day of Preparation”. This of course means that they met together on the 15th of Nisan. Matthew is very careful in his wording, and if this were the normal weekly Sabbath he would have said so. In the opening verse of the next chapter, he carefully identified when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, it was “after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week (Sunday) began to dawn (i.e. while it was still dark)” – Matthew 28:1. If the meeting of the Chief Priests and Pharisees with Pilate had taken place on the weekly Sabbath, then Matthew would have said so. We must therefore conclude, that the day that Jesus died and was buried, was not the day prior to the weekly Sabbath. There must have been at least one day between them. They could not have had their meeting with Pilate on the 14th of Nisan, for a meeting with a “gentile” would have defiled them for the coming Passover (Seder) celebrations on the evening of the 15th. So they delayed the meeting until after this crucial event, to a time when it was more acceptable within the context of their warped sense of sanctification. They met, still on the 15th Nisan, i.e. on the day after the Preparation Day when Jesus had died.

Jesus would be in the grave for three days and three nights (Matt.12:40). He was risen from the dead on the first day of the week, and He died mid-afternoon on the Wednesday.

James Avery


John 19:31-33: “Now it was the day of Preparation and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.”

There are two general ideas as to the answer to this question:

1. The Gospels of Mark, Luke and John all make it clear that Jesus’ burial occurred shortly after His death on the day of “preparation” (Friday) before the Sabbath In order for Jesus to have been buried just before the Sabbath (Saturday), Jesus’ crucifixion could only have occurred on Friday.

Jesus predicted that He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The expression “one day and one night” was used often by the Jews for a day, even when it was applied to only a part of a day. Evening and morning, or night and day, is the Hebrew phrase for a natural day. In computing time a part of a day was to be computed as the whole.

Christ was dead at three o’clock on Friday, they had before six o’clock, three hours to bury Him. The Jewish reckoning of time found in Talmud said any part, an “onan”, of the day is considered a full day. On Friday before six o’clock by Jewish reckoning, any minute was considered one day and one night. It is likely that the part of the day (Friday) on which Jesus was crucified, the entire day He was in the grave (Saturday), and the part of the day on which He rose again (Sunday), estimated as entire days.

2. Jesus was placed on the cross about 9:00 A.M. our time and was there until about 4:00 P.M. He was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb before sunset– the beginning of the Sabbath. A “high Sabbath”–a Passover Sabbath came on Thursday that week. Leviticus 23:5-7 tells us the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a Sabbath day. At about sunset on Thursday He had been in the grave one day and one night. At about sunset on Friday, He had been in the grave two days and two nights. Then, just after the three full days and nights, He arose. He arose as it began to dawn the first day of the week (just after sunset Saturday, our time). The women came early Sunday morning, our time, but He was already gone.

The Bible says only that he arose on Sunday. Jesus rose early on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9). The important thing to remember is He arose. In Acts chapter 1 as the disciples looked on while Jesus ascended into heaven, two men dressed in white appeared. Their basic message was, “Quit looking at the sky and get on with the job of spreading the good news that He arose!”

Sandra McGarrity


I have heard it argued Wednesday or Thursday. No one can really justify the good Friday theory because of the following verse:

Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

If Jesus died on Friday afternoon and rose on Sunday, that would not make 3 NIGHTS. No matter how you add it up, you can never get three nights from Friday to Sunday morning. Friday does not give us enough time for three days and three nights. We know that Jesus arose from the dead on Sunday, which is the first day of the week. The key to knowing what day the crucifixion took place is the “three nights” part. We must not only count the three days but also THREE NIGHTS.



I would say that yes it was Friday…they celebrated Passover on Thursday and Jesus did the Passover meal with his disciples. That night about 1am he was arrest, and tried. They brought Him to Pilate and Pilate had Him crucified that day. He died around the 9th hour. Which in Jerusalem time was 3:00 pm. They had to remove the bodies by sundown because it was the Passover celebration at sundown. So on Sunday was 3 days when he rose again. That is why we have Passover every Thursday before Easter Sunday. That is my opinion. Hope it helps.



JOHN 19:31 This day was Preparation Day and the next day was special Sabbath day. Since the Jew did not want the bodies to a stay on the cross on the Sabbath day.

So, I think that day was a Saturday not a Friday.

Sandra Gardner


From what research I have done I believe that Jesus died on Wednesday. Nowhere in the Bible does it say Friday. The Bible does mention the last supper being on the day before the Passover. By dying on Wednesday Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of being in the grave 3 days.



I know the bible says Jesus laid in the grave 3 days and three nights. If this is true he couldn’t have risen on Sunday, for from Friday evening to Sunday evening is not 3 days and nights.



Jesus died on Friday, because Luke 23:56 tells us, “Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”


I think not. At Sunday school we were always told that the last supper was on Friday, but I cannot remember where but in Matthew, Mark. They said after the last supper, the Romans did come from him the next morning. So either he died on Saturday, or the last supper was on a Thursday not Friday. Also looking at this Jesus should have risen from the dead on Monday, or Sunday, deepens if he died on a Friday, or the last supper was on a Friday.

George n. Bybee III


It was the Friday as this verse confirms. John 19:31 “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath.” Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

Allan Mann


In Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (King James Version Text) on Matthew 12:40 the commentary says,” Christ was dead for 3 full days and 3 full nights. He was put in the grave Wednesday just before sunset and was resurrected at the end of Saturday at sunset. Good Friday should be changed to Good Wednesday. No statement says that he was buried Friday at sunset. This would make him in the grave only one day and one night, proving his own words untrue (v 40). The Sabbath of John 19:31 was not the regular weekly one but the special Sabbath of the feast.” Hence, according to this analysis, Jesus was crucified late on Wednesday afternoon, not Friday.

Jack Segal

Houston, Texas


It was on Friday. Luke 23:52–24:1(Good news version) other version calls it the preparation day or the sixth day.

Boaz Ouma


I believe that Jesus died on Friday at 3:00 p.m.

Anthony Tan Nguyen