Even though we celebrate Easter on a Sunday, many facts about Jesus’ life and the crucifixion in the Bible aren’t clear-cut. They must be derived from examining the evidence in Scripture from the New Testament four Gospels.
The Bible doesn’t give us a specific date for Jesus’ birth. Because of this, we must determine his age by gathering clues from the four Gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John to infer his age.
The most widely accepted age of Jesus at his death is 33. This is because of what we are told in Luke.
“Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,”
– Luke 3:23
From there, we can determine from the Bible that Jesus’ ministry lasted for three years, thus, making him 33 years old at his death.
Working backward, Jesus’ birth is determined to be somewhere between the years 4BC-0BC. This places his death somewhere between the years 29AD-33AD.
From our estimate above, the crucifixion occurred somewhere between the years 29AD-33AD. Again, we look at the four Gospels for evidence to determine what day of the week crucifixion occurred.
Evidence strongly suggests it occurred on a Friday because all four Gospels mentioned the Day of Preparation.
The Day of Preparation is a day observed in Judaism that immediately precedes the Sabbath. The Sabbath is Saturday; therefore, this infers that the Day of Preparation is a Friday. The Gospels tell us that the crucifixion of Jesus occurred on a Day of Preparation; thus, it implies that the crucifixion occurred on a Friday.
The Gospels also tell us that Jesus was also buried on the same day as the crucifixion, thus, that would be a Friday.
“And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,”
– Mark 15:42
Again, putting together what we know so far, Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried on a Friday, on the day of preparation.
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.”
– Mark 16:1
The Sabbath is a Saturday, so that was passed that would make it Sunday. The next verse confirms this.
“And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.”
– Mark 16:1
According to the Jewish calendar, Sunday is the first day of the week. When they arrived at the tomb, which had been sealed from the outside with a large stone, they found it empty.
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”
– Luke 24:1-3
There were two men inside the empty tomb who told the visitors why it was empty.
“While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.'”
– Luke 24:4-7
This was a reminder of what Jesus had told the disciples prior to his crucifixion.
“From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
– Matthew 16:21
From these accounts, Easter was celebrated on Sunday to commemorate Jesus Christ overcoming death and rising to live again, as a demonstration that all those in Christ shall do the same.