John 19:31 says Jesus died before a High Sabbath. If we assume that High Sabbath is one of the seven annual Sabbaths then it'd be that the High Sabbath fall's on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread which according to Leviticus is the 15th of Nisan. But Luke 22:7 clearly states that the feast of Unleavened bread took place and then goes on to talk about the Last Supper.

So how did Jesus die after the feast of Unleavened bread and also before the High Sabbath? I am aware of the interpretation that there are two different calendars. Another explanation is to say that it was the second High Sabbath, which comes at the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. But that of course means that Jesus would have quite a while after the Last Supper.

So simply asked: how do I interpret this supposed contradiction?

  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. I also recommend going through the Help Center's sections on both asking and answering questions.
    – agarza
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 20:30
  • 2
    there are countless existing topics on this issue, just search hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/… or related keywords.
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 18:09
  • 2
    Craig Bloomberg’s book “The Historical Reliability of John’s gospel” goes into depth on how the Synoptic gospels and John don’t contradict each other on the day in which Jesus died, he gives ample evidence too, they are the same day.
    – Cork88
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 21:16
  • 1
    @Cork88 - Totally agree with you, not to mention Craig Bloomberg and have marked your comment "as being useful" above. Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 3:29
  • 1
    I have a question about the synoptics placing the first day of Unleavened Bread on the day before Jesus was crucified. The disciples ate the Passover meal the night before Jesus was killed, according to the synoptics. According to John, while Jesus was before Pilate, the Jewish leaders were planning on eating the Passover that night. This seems like a contradiction. I have ordered two books on the subject, The Historical Reliability of John's Gospel by Craig L. Blomberg and the other The Priority of John by Arthur Wright, written in 1896. Will these books help me with this issue? Commented May 6 at 19:28

7 Answers 7


The date of Jesus' death supposed contradiction

This is a response to the above question made by Firebirdofmercy. He asks about the timing of Jesus's death and when the High Day Sabbath was observed.

First off, there was no High Day Sabbath at the time the Bible was written. That was an invention of the Pharisaic Jews late in the Second Temple period, sometime after Jesus had ascended into heaven, most probably shortly before the destruction of the Temple and before the writings of the Talmuds. In the Hebrew Scriptures there were no references to a "high day" Sabbath. In John 19:31 the author described the day as "great" (megales in the Greek) and in John 7:37 he refers to the last great day of the Feast of Tabernacles as a great day. This day later became known as "The Last Great Day" by Sabbath keeping Churches of God. The Jews later referred to these "great" days as "high days" in the Talmuds and normative Judaism calls them so as well.

EDIT: The actual first use of high day regarding the Jewish holidays was sometime in the 12th century, about 400 years before the King James Version was written, according to this webpage:


Jesus died on Friday afternoon the day before the weekly Sabbath and the first day of Unleavened Bread, which that year fell on the weekly Sabbath. John calls that Sabbath a great day because it was one of the seven annual holy convocations that coincided with the weekly Sabbath the weekend Jesus died.

The KJV translators, when they translated the Bible from Greek to English, used the Jewish term "high day" for the great day in John 19:31. There is nothing wrong with that though because after all most of the Jews had been calling these "great" feast days as high days for four centuries. Most modern translations render it as "high day" as well. However, the Nisan 15 holiday falling on the weekly Sabbath was not called a high day until after the rabbinic writings were made. It was simply referred to as a "great" day, especially if a holy convocation fell on a weekly Sabbath.

At the time Jesus lived on earth there were two major parties in the Jewish world. One of them were the Sadducees who held to the scriptural reckoning of the waving of the Omer which followed the first weekly Sabbath of Passover week. This waving of the Omer was important because it was day one of the fifty-day countdown to Shavuot (Pentecost) which began and ended up on Sunday, the day after the seventh Sabbath.

Read Leviticus 23:11 for the timing of the waving of the Omer and read Leviticus 23:15-16 that places the 50th day as the day after the seventh Sabbath, hence also a Sunday. The Pharisees held the erroneous reckoning of the Septuagint translation, which was actually a mistranslation of Leviticus 23:11 where it changed the waving of the Omer from the day after the weekly Sabbath to the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread. Hence, the Pharisees started their countdown from Nisan 16 every year. In the modern Jewish calendar the 50th day from Nisan 16 is Sivan 6. Under the Pharisee reckoning there are always exactly 50 days between the Passover meal and the day of Shavuot.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, there are eight holy convocations in the Jewish year. You can read about them in Leviticus 23. One of them is the weekly Sabbath, mentioned in verse 3. It forbids ANY work and is called a Sabbath. There are about 50 of them every Jewish year. There is one of the seven annual holy convocations that forbids ANY work and that day is called a Sabbath too. That one is the Day of Atonement and it forbids ANY work. These two days do not only have being called a Sabbath in common, but both of them were the only holy convocations that called for the death penalty when they were broken. They are also the only two holy convocations that are paired with another Hebrew word for rest SHABBATHOWN. Therefore, they are called SHABBATH SHABBATHOWN in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Septuagint, the SHABBATHOWN is rendered as ANAPAUSIS, which means "rest". In the Christian Greek Scriptures ANAPAUSIS (G372) means rest too. In Leviticus 23 three of the holy convocations that fell in the sacred month of Tishri (the seventh month) that were called SHABBATHOWN are translated as "rest" in most modern English translations.

The other six holy convocations forbid only servile work and they are never called Sabbaths in the Hebrew Scriptures. Nisan 15 is not a Sabbath. This must be understood when you are taking into account that Jesus died on the day before the Sabbath (Mark 15:42). The Greek word for "before the Sabbath" is prosabbaton and that word is used in other Greek writings other than the Bible for the day before the weekly Sabbath. It is never used for the day before a festival day unless the festival day falls on the weekly Sabbath. John 19:31 claims the Sabbath that followed Jesus's death was a high day. All that means is the Nisan 15 is called a high day by the KJV translators and other translators as well. But when Jesus died the "high day" wasn't invented yet. It was simply a "great" day because it fell on the weekly Sabbath. Nisan 15 was not a Sabbath by itself, but it fell on the weekly Sabbath the week Jesus died.

If I told you that this Thursday was a holiday would that mean Thursday itself was a holiday or that a holiday fell on Thursday? Some sincere, well-meaning Christians claim it was Nisan 15 that was the Sabbath John was referring to but that simply is not true. Nisan 15 is not called a Sabbath anywhere in Scripture. The Pharisees called it a Sabbath and they have done that since the post-first century CE rabbis codified it in the Talmud's and it has been a Jewish tradition every since. Jesus died on a Friday.

John also declares it was the Preparation of the Passover. Usually, when the Greek word for Preparation was used, either in the Greek Scriptures or other Greek writings of that day, it referred to Friday, the day before the weekly Sabbath. In modern Greek it is used for Friday. John 19:14 does however use Preparation for the Passover and not the weekly Sabbath. But does that mean Jesus did not die on a Friday? No, because Preparation is used elsewhere in the gospels in reference to the weekly Sabbath. So, not only was Preparation (Friday) used to refer to the day of the week, it was used to designate the time Jewish households were cleansing their homes and rooms of all leaven, and that required inspection and work. Nisan 15 fell on the weekly Sabbath the next day.

I hope this helps. Jesus died on a Friday afternoon and resurrected on Sunday morning, the third day. Friday was the first day of Jesus's death, Saturday was the second day of his death and Sunday was the third day of his death. He resurrected on the third day, just as he declared many times during his ministry on earth.

Many claim that Matthew 12:40 is literal because if it isn't then there is a contradiction between "3 days and 3 nights" and the Friday crucifixion and the Sunday resurrection. However, if Matthew 12:40 belongs in Matthew then there are several contradictions in the Gospels between Matthew 12:40 and those that say Jesus would rise on "the third day". I believe Matthew 12:40 is a scribal emendation. The part about the sign of Jonah is referred to by Luke but Luke does not refer to any time period. It is possible that Jesus actually said, "for as Jonah was in the whale's belly three days, so shall I be in the heart of the earth three days." No mention of nights here, but if the "three nights" belong in the text, then contradictions abound in the Gospels. If "three days" only was meant, then there are no contradictions anywhere between Matthew and the other Gospels. All the gospels have Jesus rising on the "third day" and "in three days". These verses are all contradicted if Matthew 12:40 means "three days and three nights" literally. That's because Jews counted their days inclusively. It's not even up for debate.


If Jesus died on Wednesday afternoon that would be the first day of his death, even if a few hours were involved. Friday afternoon would therefore be the third day and Saturday afternoon would be the fourth day.

Jesus was said to have risen from the dead on the third day, or as Mark says three times, "after three days." One can compare Marks "after three days" in Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:34 to the parallel accounts in Matthew and Luke and see "after three days" is interchangeable with "the third day." In John 4:40-43 one can read that "after two days" can be interchangeable with "two days". Like, if someone was arrested on Monday and thrown in jail around noon time Monday and he was checked out of jail on Tuesday afternoon, it can be said he spent two days in jail when in reality he was only parts of two days in jail.It can also be said "after two days in jail he went home" even when the second day was still in progress.

A final word for those that believe Nisan 15 was a Sabbath (and all the other holy convocations) just turn to your Bible and read Leviticus 23. Some good versions to use are the NASB 1995 edition, the ESV, and the Legacy Standard Bible. All of these translate the Hebrew well.

I originally used the KJV. As you read each verse of Leviticus 23 compare with them the Septuagint translation verse by verse. You will see where the Septuagint translators went awry in Leviticus 23:11 and changed the waving of the Omer (wave sheaf) from the day after the weekly Sabbath to the day after the first day. That first day would be the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread.

In this manner, those that observed the waving of the Omer on the day after the weekly Sabbath would begin their 50-day countdown to Shavuot always on a Sunday and it would always end on a Sunday. Those that stubbornly hold to the view that the waving of the Omer on the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15) therefore must believe that Nisan 15 is a Sabbath and their 50-day count always ends on Sivan 6.

Under the Pharisee method of reckoning it doesn't matter what day of the week Nisan 16 falls on, whether it is a Tuesday or a Friday, it will always end on the same day of the week it began. The correct day of counting is to count seven Sabbath Days and on the day after the seventh Sabbath, on Sunday, is Shavuot (Pentecost). The incorrect way to begin the count is to begin the count on a weekday and to end on the same weekday seven WEEKS later.


Dealing strictly with Luke 22:7:

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. (KJV)

The holy Days of Unleavened Bread last for over a week, so there isn't any single "day" of unleavened bread.

Luke could be specifying which specific day of the festival, the day when the lambs are killed.

But it could have a more general meaning. Luke was writing to the non-Jewish Greeks (just as Mark wrote to the Romans). The Greeks would be vaguely familiar with Jewish customs, but not the details. To outsiders, the most obvious and unusual thing about this time of year was that a large number of lambs are killed on the same day.

So, Luke could be saying something like:

It was now Passover season, you know, when all the lambs are killed.

just as someone today might say to a Hindu or Buddhist:

It was the Christmas season, you know, when the evergreen trees and lights are put up.

The NLT translation in fact renders this verse with that meaning:

Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed.

Luke was simply establishing the time of year as a background to what was happening, not restricting things to a specific day.

We learn from the other Gospels that the lambs were slaughtered on the "Day of Preparation" before the high sabbath that occurs on the first day of the Days of Unleavened Bread.


Other answers have gone on to suggest calendars of events.

The article Good Friday + Easter Sunday: It Doesn’t Add Up! | United Church of God, and other articles in that issue of the magazine, give detailed explanations of why the Crucifixion was on a Wednesday afternoon in AD 31.

enter image description here

Note that there is some controversy over whether all the high holidays should also be referred to as sabbaths.

Technically, most of them shouldn't. But, as Saber Truth Tiger says in another answer, that terminology "was an invention of the Pharisees and their predecessors late in the Second Temple period".

So, Jews of the time, including John, would naturally refer to the first day of Passover as a sabbath.

  • 1
    Good answer. +1. Indeed, the Torah states that the Lamb had to be scarified at twilight so it might be argued that it was either the 14th or the 15th say because it was on the border of both.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 22:16
  • I didn't realize until now, or maybe I just forgot, that you were an advocate for a Wednesday crucifixion!! Surely you can't believe this. Friday is the general consensus among the vast majority of many a respected theologian, as I'm sure you must know. For one truth alone, Jesus died before a "Great Passover", all of which were always on a Saturday. In my comment to Agarza below, I give a link/reference to Q.53715 (Time of Jesus' crucifixion in relation to the Passover), to which I gave a detailed answer, which was hardly IMO only. Thursday arrest of Jesus, starts 3 nights/days. Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 13:24
  • 1
    @RayButterworth I don't dispute that modern Jews have accepted Nisan 15 as a Sabbath but it wasn't so in the Hebrew Scriptures. Since it is found nowhere in Hebrew and Christian writings of the first century, and since you claim Nisan 15 is a Sabbath the burden of proof is on you. It is not my burden to prove it wasn't. It is in your lap to prove John would have used the popular terminology. The proper terminology in the time of Christ was Nisan 15 was NOT a Sabbath. You must prove it was and IF it was popular terminology, then prove John would have used the erroneous date if inspired by God. Commented Apr 21 at 21:01
  • 1
    @RayButterworth You have the burden to prove it is sufficient to show that the Jews in Jesus's day considered Nisan 15 a Sabbath. You need to qualify by what you mean when you write "the Jews" because the Sadducees were in control of temple worship at that time, and they celebrated the calendar according to a literal rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures. I have discussed this in great detail elsewhere and I won't repeat it now. You need to prove the Jews (as opposed to some Jews) believed Nisan 15 was a Sabbath and if they did, was it based in scripture. Commented Apr 21 at 21:07
  • 1
    @RayButterworth He could have, he should have, and so forth. You use "could have" but this Hanukkah is not a name of a biblical holiday. It does not harm the Hebrew Scriptures in any sense to refer to a national holiday that came after the Hebrew Scriptures were written. But Nisan 15 was a biblical holiday and it was established in the time of Moses and it was never called a Sabbath in all the Scriptures. When the Gospel writers refer to the next day as the Sabbath the only Sabbaths mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures are the weekly Sabbath, the Day of Atonement and the Seven-year Sabbath. Commented Apr 21 at 21:50

To better understand the timing of Jesus' death, we need to define both the Sabbath and the Festival of Unleavened Bread.

Most people will recognize that there is a weekly day of rest known as the Sabbath. But within the Mosaic Law, there were other days that were considered sabbatical. Note the following list from the article "Sabbath Day" in the Insight on the Scriptures:

The weekly Sabbath was made an integral part of a system of sabbaths when the Law covenant was formally inaugurated at Mount Sinai a short time later. (Ex 19:1; 20:8-10; 24:5-8) This sabbatical system was composed of many types of sabbaths: the 7th day, the 7th year, the 50th year (Jubilee year), Nisan 14 (Passover), Nisan 15, Nisan 21, Sivan 6 (Pentecost), Ethanim 1, Ethanim 10 (Atonement Day), Ethanim 15, and Ethanim 22.

John 19:31 mentions that a particular Sabbath called "high", "special", or "great" depending on the translation used. The same article refereneced above, helps define this day:

Sometimes two legal Sabbaths would fall on the same 24-hour period, and this was called a “great” Sabbath, such as when Nisan 15 (a sabbath day) coincided with the regular Sabbath.​—Joh 19:31.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible makes a similar observation:

Was an high day - It was:

  1. The Sabbath.

  2. It was the day on which the paschal feast properly commenced.

It was called a high day because that year the feast of the Passover commenced on the Sabbath. Greek: "Great day."

The Festival of Unleavened Bread (or Cakes)
The article "Festival" from the Insight on the Scriptures again helps define this festival:

This festival began the day after the Passover and ran from Abib (Nisan) 15th through the 21st. Passover was on Nisan 14 and was really a day of observance to itself, but since it was so closely connected in time with the Festival of Unfermented Cakes, the two were often spoken of together as the Passover.​—Mt 26:17; Mr 14:12; Lu 22:7.

The study note for Luke 22:7 (NWT) gives additional insight into the dates in question:

The day mentioned here refers to Nisan 14 because it is said to be the day on which the Passover sacrifice must be offered. (Ex 12:6, 15, 17, 18; Le 23:5; De 16:1-7) What is described in verses 7-13 likely took place on the afternoon of Nisan 13 in preparation for the Passover meal in the evening, that is, at sunset when Nisan 14 started.​ [bold theirs]

To help visualize the days better:

Date Event
Nisan 13 Day of Preparation
Nisan 14 Passover (also Jesus' death) Sabbath
Nisan 15 The Festival of Unleavened Bread begins Sabbath
Nisan 16 - 20 The Festival of Unleavened Bread
Nisan 21 The end of the Festival of Unleavened Bread Sabbath

As we can see, Nisan 14 was the regular day of celebrating the Passover which was a Sabbath. We also note that it is a "high" Sabbath due to its proximity to the Festival of Unleavened Bread.

[All scripture quotations from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)]

  • So in essence your saying that Jesus died the same day that the last supper took place? just trying to understand. Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 17:52
  • Yes, 1 Cor. 5:7 "For, indeed, Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed." As the Passover lamb, it makes sense that he would offer his life on the same day as the Passover.
    – agarza
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 17:55
  • I remember looking at this "every which way", so to speak, in late 2021, before answering the following Q: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/53715/… ... I subsequently, in my answer, came up with the fact that there must have been "two" Passovers. One instigated by Jesus himself on Thursday eve Last Supper and then, of course, there was the "traditional" Passover meal on Friday eve, with Jesus being crucified between the two. For further info, you should/can read my full answer, which also makes ref. to the UB. Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 20:42
  • @agarza There were only three sabbaths in the Hebrew and Christian Greek Scriptures. The weekly Sabbath, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the seventh year Land Sabbath. The other so-called Sabbath days in your answer were never called Sabbaths in the Bible Days. Those were a later, rabbinical interpretation or addition, after the death of Jesus, circa 50 CE, Commented Apr 26 at 0:49


The confusion could be dispelled if we would understand how the NT writers described how the contemporary Jews reckoned the Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread (UB). These are provided in the following verses:


Passover and the Feast of UB Interchanged

The New Testament uses Passover and the UB interchangeably. Sometimes it calls the entire 8 days (1 day Passover + 7 days UB) as Passover and sometimes the Feast of UB and sometimes both (as in Mark 14:1 shown later).

“And on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, Where do you desire we should prepare for You to eat the Passover?” (Matt 26:17).

Here Matthew clubs together both the Passover on Nissan 14 and the 7 days of UB that begins on Nissan 15, the immediate next day. So, here we see, the 1+7=8 days are called UB!

“And on the first day of the Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover” (Mar 14:12).

Again we see Mark doing the same, that is, the 1 (Passover day) +7 (UB days) = 8 days are called UB.

“And the Feast of Unleavened Bread, BEING CALLED Passover, drew near” (Luke 22:1).

Here, Luke says that the 1 (Passover day) + 7 (UB days) = 8 days, the entire 8 days are also called Passover. This is what John calls in John 19:14!

"And the day of the Unleavened Bread came, ON WHICH the Passover must be killed” (Luke 22:7).

So, Luke is very clear: the entire 1 + 7 = 8 days are called either UB days or Passover. If we do not understand this, we could end up confusing the terms. But Mark says that sometimes these 8 days are called both (given below).

The fact is Passover falls on Nissan 14th and the very next day, Nissan 15th, comes the first day of the UB. So the 1 day Passover + 7 days UB are considered to be, for practical purposes, ONE feast. Sometimes, they call it Passover, sometimes the UB and sometimes, both as in Mark 14:1:

“And it was the Passover, AND (the Feast) of Unleavened (Bread) after two days”.

So, we see:

Nissan 14 – Passover, a working day;

Nissan 15 – first day of UB; an annual Sabbath (a high day); no work;

Nissan 16 – second day of UB; a working day;

Nissan 17 – third day of UB; a working day;

Nissan 18 – fourth day of UB; a working day;

Nissan 19 – fifth day of UB; a working day;

Nissan 20 – sixth day of UB; a working day;

Nissan 21 – seventh day of UB; an annual Sabbath (a high day); no work.

[Since UB covers 7 days, the Saturday Sabbath can fall on any day and that day will be a Sabbath rest “according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56) and no work should be done. The next Sunday morning is the Wave Sheaf offering, a working day]

Preparation Day

Since Passover (Nissan 14) was a working day that immediately preceded the UB and the first day of UB (Nissan 15) was an annual Sabbath on which no work was to be done, Passover day came to be regarded as “the day of Preparation”.

Jesus, as a devout Jew who esteemed and obeyed God’s laws and commandments (but not all the Jewish traditions), observed all the feast days.

Nissan 14 (Tuesday evening) – Jesus ate the Passover at the evening;

Nissan 14 (Wednesday daytime) – Jesus, as “our Passover Lamb” (1 Cor 5:7) was sacrificed during the day. It is a working day. At evening Jesus was buried in a hurry. Preparation day of UB;

Nissan 15 (Thursday daytime) – first day of UB, an annual Sabbath. “The next day after the day of preparation” the chief priests and the Pharisees came to Pilate. It was well within “a Sabbath day’s journey” (Acts 1:12). So they thought they didn’t break Sabbath according to their tradition.

But they went and secured the sepulcher on the high Sabbath. No wonder, Jesus criticized them for keeping the Sabbath according to their convenience (Luke 14:5).

All these happened during the day time.


Since we have seen clearly that 1 Passover day + 7 days of UB = 8 days is interchangeably called either UB feast or Passover or both, we can understand the following verses thus:

John 19:31 –

“Then, since it was Preparation (Nissan 14 Passover day ending), that the bodies not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (Nissan 15 UB), for great was the day of that Sabbath, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and they be taken away”.

Luke 22:7 –

“And the day of the Unleavened Bread came (Nissan 14 evening), on which the Passover must be killed (Nissan 14 evening)”.

  • I was not intending to have to involve myself so soon after just the other day's entanglement with you. I only involve myself now as I have had a lot to say on this Q., not only in comments to the OP and others, but including what I had to say in my answer of Dec 21 '20, to "Time of Jesus' crucifixion in relation to the Passover", which you can see in the link given under @agarza. Consequently, you either take what I have written under advisement or not. It's up to you. Despite what you might think, I'm only here to help. Commented Mar 25 at 16:02
  • 1
    There is no entanglement between us, Olde English. Please feel free to comment when you feel it is necessary. After all, we follow the same Person who has shown us the best attitude and godly values! Commented Mar 26 at 13:57

There are two possible types of consistency between two narratives that cover the same events and one of which (John's) was composed after the other (the Synoptics) and most probably while John had a copy of the other on his table:

  • absolute consistency, and
  • increasing-accuracy consistency.

I assume the second type of consistency is the case whenever John differs from the Synoptics.

Importantly, in this case, there is astronomical data available that we can use: the moon phases computations from AstroPixels 1. To use it, we must have in mind that the Jewish calendar at that time was observational, not calculated and that the new month was proclaimed at first visibility after the new moon, not at the new moon proper. Therefore if the GMT time of the new moon in the table is past noon we have to add 3 days to that of the new moon to obtain the date of Nisan 1.

Thus, from the pre-Nisan New moon in 30 AD on Mar 22, 17:47 GMT, and looking up Julian weekdays in Calender Converter 2, we have:

Nisan 1 = from Friday, March 24 sunset to Saturday, March 25 sunset

Nisan 14 = from Thursday, April 6 sunset to Friday, April 7 sunset.

Nisan 15 = from Friday, April 7 sunset to Saturday, April 8 sunset.

Note 1: Jesus died at the same time the Paschal lambs were being sacrificed in the Temple, between 15:00 and 17:00 of Nisan 14.

Note 2: Whereas Jews had the Passover meal in the first hours of Nisan 15, Jesus had his Last Supper in the first hours of Nisan 14. The Last Supper was not a Jewish Passover meal, i.e. a memorial (re-presentation) of the Exodus from Egypt (not only because of its timing but because no lamb was eaten, instead Jesus gave Himself as food), but rather Jesus' Passover, an anticipation (pre-presentation) of his imminent Sacrifice on the Cross.

Note 3: We can perform an additional check by noting that the dinner at Lazarus' home in Bethany was "six days before the Passover" (Jn 12:1), i.e. on Nisan 9. Now, if Nisan 15 was Saturday as per John, then Nisan 9 was Sunday and everything is OK. But if Nisan 15 was Friday as per the Synoptics then Nisan 9 was Saturday and the dinner implied a massive violation of Sabbath rest, not only by Lazarus and his sisters but also by "a great crowd of the Jews" who went from Jerusalem to Bethany to see Jesus and particularly Lazarus, "whom He had raised from the dead" (John 12:9).

Note 4: Finally, Jesus entered Jerusalem "on the next day" (Jn 12:12), i.e. on Nisan 10 (actually Palm Monday), at the same time the Paschal lambs were being brought into Jerusalem to be acquired by the Jews for the coming Passover meal (Ex 12:3).


1 Fred Espenak, "Six Millennium Catalog of Phases of the Moon", 1 to 100 AD

2 Calendar Converter

  • Lk 22:7 states exactly the same as Mk 14:12 and partially the same as Mt 26:17, which warrants grouping all three as "the Synoptics". And my answer is right to the point: the Synoptics' dating info on this event is approximate, whereas John's is accurate.
    – Johannes
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 16:26
  • John arrived in Bethany six days BEFORE the Passover. If this is referring to the Passover Feast Day, then this would be Nisan 9. If it were referring to the Passover week, then it would be Nisan 8 since Nisan 14 was considered part of the Passover week. Furthermore, it isn't certain that Jesus arrived in Bethany on daytime Nisan 9. It could have been shortly past sunset on Nisan 9, at the beginning of the calendar day. The "next day" could refer to daytime Nisan 9 as the Hebrew word "day" could refer to either a sunset to sunset day or a sunrise to sunset day. Commented Apr 19 at 22:28
  • Sometimes "on the morrow" or "the next day" could refer to the next daytime period, even if one were in the night time portion of the calendar day. Or is it true? I had been taught that so many years ago I don't even know if it's true or not but it is something I wonder about. Commented Apr 19 at 22:32
  • Are the ancient languages rigid enough to disallow that interpretation. If Jesus arrived at Bethany six days before Passover it would indeed be Nisan 9, But it could have been the day just beginning at sunset after a day long travel from Jericho. The supper was served, and the next day could refer to the sunrise to sunset daytime period, Am I right? I want to know, Commented Apr 19 at 22:35

Yeshua could not have died on a Friday and had 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb. And to promote this some believe in a partial day theory, but Jonah did NOT have partial days in the belly of the great sea beast. He was in the belly for a literal 3 days and 3 nights.

Yeshua said the only sign that they (Pharisees/scribes) would be given was the sign of Jonah.(Matthew 12:38–41). Specifically, Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"

  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics! and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others. I also recommend going through the Help Center's sections on both asking and answering questions.
    – agarza
    Commented Mar 25 at 3:02
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 25 at 3:02
  • Matthew 26:17-21, Mark 14:12-18, and Luke 33:7-15 would all disagree with your analysis. Jesus ate the Passover at the last supper. He died on the 15th. The only Sabbath that can meet the requirement of the Sabbath following the crucifixion is the Saturday Sabbath.
    – AFrazier
    Commented Apr 27 at 12:19

The passage doesn't say that it was a High Sabbath, or a High Day Sabbath. It says that it was a high day on which the Sabbath would occur.

Although a lot of people seem to have trouble wrapping their minds around this scriptural reality, Jesus ate the Passover at the last supper. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all plainly state that the afternoon preceding the last supper was the first day of unleavened bread. That's the 14th of the month. Mark and Luke add that that afternoon was also the day when the Passover was slain, which is the 14th of the month. According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, two disciples, John and Peter, were sent to procure a room, inform the owner of the house that Jesus and his disciples would keep and eat the Passover at his house, and then go and prepare the Passover. These two disciples did as commanded and prepared the Passover. Jesus was arrested later that night. (Matthew 26:17-21; Mark 14:12-18; Luke 33:7-15)

If Jesus was arrested on the 14th (which he was), and crucified the next day (which he was), then he died on the 15th.

If he died on Friday, the 15th of Nisan, then the day following the crucifixion would be Saturday, the 16th of Nisan, a Sabbath day, and also the day of First Fruits, the waving of the sheaf, and the beginning of the count to Pentecost. Ergo, that Sabbath was a high day, but not a high Sabbath.

Consequently, knowing that Jesus died on the 15th, the notion of a Wednesday crucifixion should be dismissed. Unless the crucifixion occurred on the 14th, allowing the next day Sabbath requirement to be fulfilled by the holiday Sabbath of the 15th, the only Sabbath that can otherwise fulfill this requisite is the weekly Saturday Sabbath.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.