By Maurice J. Barnett

Establishing the early dates for important events is necessary to placing later events in their proper places. When did Jesus begin and end his work? Was Jesus crucified in A.D. 30 or 33? Establishing that will give us the exact time of the beginning of the New Tes­tament order. I believe the facts establish the beginning of the work of Jesus sometime in 26 A.D., after the arrival of Pilate that year and some months after the beginning of the work of John the Baptist. The traditional view has been that Jesus began his work in the year 30, and was crucified in 33. Let's see if that works.

Jesus was 30 when he began his 3½ year ministry (Luke 3:23), making him 33 when He died. In the sixth century A.D., Dionysius Exiguus, a scholarly monk, introduced what is called the Dionysian Period. It formulated a starting point for modern chronology: the birth of Jesus in the year 1. Granting his figures, that would make Jesus 30 years old in the year 30, and crucified in 33. However, by the reckoning of his chronology, he placed the birth of Jesus four years after the death of Herod. That throws all later chronology off the mark.

The work of John the Baptist began in the "fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea," Luke 3:1. If we count that fifteenth year from the time of the death of Augustus, then 28 or 29 would be correct. But, that doesn't con­nect with other facts. If we count the fifteenth year from the time Tiberius became co-regent with Augustus, effectively taking control of the government from the aging Augustus, we arrive at the year 26. This corresponds with Luke 3:23 that Jesus was 30 years old at the time he began his work.

The first Passover of his ministry (John 2:13) was the occasion for Jesus' statement about his resurrection that brought the re­sponse that "Forty and six years was this temple in building...." John 2:19-20. Since the temple was begun in 19 B.C., forty six years would bring the time to 27 A.D. Jesus observed three other Passovers after this, John 5:1; 6:4; 12:1. That would bring events to the Passover of the year 30.

For his last Passover, Jesus came to Bethany six days before the Passover (John. 12:1). The events of the text show that the jour­ney had to occur on Friday — they couldn't have traveled there on the Sabbath, and the first day of the week would have been too late for the events of the following week. Passover always came on the 14th of Abib, or Nisan, Exodus 12:6, Lev. 23:5. That date could fall on any day of the week, depending on the year. Six days before that Passover would place it on Thursday. That would make the crucifix­ion on Friday, and his resurrection the third day afterward, the first day of the week. The March 29, 1974 issue of Christianity Today carried a dating table, a computer analysis, for the years 26-36 A.D. In those years, the 14th of Nisan only came on a Thurs­day in the year 30, April 6 of our calendar. So, the crucifixion was on Friday April 7 and the resurrection on Sunday April 9, 30 A.D. Pentecost was fifty days later, Sunday May 28, 30 A.D.

To fine-tune the time element of capture and crucifixion, note Luke 24. Verse 1 says it is the first day of the week. Verse 13 says Jesus met two disciples on the road to Emmaus, "that very day." In the conversation of verses 18-21, they tell Him that the chief priests and rulers "delivered him up to be crucified" and "it is now the third day since these things came to pass." Jesus then says in verse 46 that it was written that He was to "rise from the dead the third day." Luke 24 establishes that Jesus rose on the third day since his crucifixion, the first day of the week, which meant He had to have been, Biblically, crucified on Friday. &


By Bob Myhan

Peter professed that he would die with the Lord rather than deny Him (Matt. 26:31-35). Peter’s attitude was no doubt genuine and commendable. But, when it came down to it, was Peter willing to die for the Lord? Yes and no. Before Jesus’ trials, Peter was certainly willing to risk his life for the Lord’s sake.

And while He was still speaking, be­hold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." Imme­diately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. (Matt. 26:47-51)

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. (John 18:10)

But during the trials, he denied that he even knew Jesus. And he did so three times before the rooster crowed twice, just as Jesus had predicted (Mark 14:29-30, 66-72).

Why did Peter act so valiantly before the trials and so cowardly during them? On both occasions, his actions were the result of his attitude toward the coming kingdom. Before and during the trials, Peter thought the kingdom was to be of this world, that is, of a material nature. Thus, he was fighting to prevent Jesus from being delivered to the Jews (John 18:33-36). He erroneously thought that Jesus’ arrest would prevent Him from establishing His king­dom (Matt. 16:20-23). So when Jesus surrendered without a fight, Peter must have thought He had accepted defeat. His action during the trials, then, seems to have been born of sense that all hope of the kingdom was lost (Luke 24:13-21).

The consequences of Peter’s attitude and action were at least threefold. First, he saved his physical life, second, he lost his spiritual life (Matt. 16:24-26; Luke 22:31-34) and third, he “went out and wept bitterly,” implying repentance (Luke 22:62).

After Pentecost, Peter understood the spiritual nature of the kingdom of God and his actions were once again valiant in the face of persecution (Acts 4:18-20; 5:19-29). What were the consequences of his courageous actions? He was beaten for his dedication and he accepted it joyfully in order to save his spiritual life (Acts 5:40-42; Matt. 16:25b). If we have the same attitude, then the same circumstances will result in the same actions on our part and we will suffer [or enjoy] the same consequences (2 Thess. 1:7-9). &