4. From the Birth to the Death of Jesus

From the Birth of Jesus to his Death and Resurrection

The exact date or the time of year of the birth of Jesus Christ is uncertain. Matthew’s Gospel (see Matthew 2:1) records that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (who died in 4BC). Herod’s decision to order the slaughter of all boys in the Bethlehem area aged two or under when he heard the report of the magi (see Matthew 2:16) suggests that Jesus was born during the two years before the death of Herod.


The birth and childhood of Jesus    6BC – 26AD

6 or 5 BC                    Jesus is born in Bethlehem. He is visited by the shepherds at Bethlehem, and consecrated to the LORD at the Temple in Jerusalem.

6 or 5 BC                    Jesus is visited by the magi at Bethlehem. He and his family escape Herod’s persecution by fleeing to Egypt.

4 BC                             Herod the Great dies. Palestine is divided between his three sons – Archelaus, Herod Antipas and Philip.

c.2 BC                        Jesus and his family return from Egypt to Nazareth in Lower Galilee.

c.5 AD                        Saul (Paul) is born at Tarsus in Cilicia.

6 AD                           Archelaus is deposed. Judaea is ruled by a Roman procurator.

c.7 AD                        Jesus sets off to visit the Temple in Jerusalem aged 12, rapidly approaching manhood on his thirteenth birthday.

14 AD                         Augustus Caesar dies.

26 AD                         Pontius Pilate is appointed as Procurator of Judaea.

The ministry of Jesus            Summer 26AD – Spring 30AD

The year in which the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus began is uncertain from the Biblical account. Luke tells us that John began his ministry during "the fifteenth year of the rule of Tiberius Caesar." (Luke 3:1) He recalls the baptism of Jesus by John in the River Jordan and adds, "When Jesus began his ministry, he was about 30 years old." (Luke 3:23)

Tiberius Caesar ruled the Roman Empire after the death of his stepfather Augustus Caesar, who died in 14AD. It's often assumed, therefore, that John the Baptist's ministry began in 29AD - 15 years after the death of Augustus Caesar. The Roman historian Suetonius, however, records that Tiberius became co-Emperor alongside the elderly and ailing Augustus in 12AD, two years before becoming sole Emperor on the death of Augustus in 14AD. The 15th year of Tiberius's reign can therefore be dated more accurately as starting in 26AD.

Theologians generally agree that, following his baptism by John, Jesus's ministry began in either 26AD or 29AD, and his death occured on either Friday 7th April 30AD or Friday 3rd April 33AD. As Jesus was born in 5 or 6BC (shortly before the death of Herod the Great in 4BC), he would have been 31 or 32 years old in 26AD. This date (which we have adopted in The Bible Journey) is in close agreement with Luke's statement that Jesus was "about thirty years of age" when he began his ministry.

Summer 26AD            John the Baptist begins his ministry.

              26AD                   Jesus is baptised by John in the River Jordan.

              26AD                   Jesus meets Andrew and his brother Simon.

              26AD                  Jesus is tempted by the satan (the ‘accuser’) in the Judaean Desert.

Autumn 26AD            Jesus performs his first miracle at a wedding at Cana in Galilee.

Spring   27 AD             Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. He performs many miracles and teaches Nicodemus about spiritual re-birth.

Summer 27 AD           Jesus and his disciples baptise in the River Jordan.

               27 AD                 John the Baptist is imprisoned at Machaerus by Herod Antipas.

               27 AD                 Jesus goes north to Galilee. En route he meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well in Sychar (Shechem).

Autumn  27 AD           Jesus is met at Cana by a royal official. Jesus heals his son.

               27 AD                 Jesus raises a widow’s son from death at Nain.

               27 AD                 Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James and John to be his disciples.

               27 AD                 Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law at Capernaum.

               27 AD                 Jesus makes Capernaum the base for his ministry.

               27 AD                 John sends two disciples to ask whether Jesus is the ‘Messiah’.

Winter    27 AD           Jesus goes on his first preaching tour in Galilee.

Spring    28 AD           Jesus preaches the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ near Capernaum.

               28 AD                 Jesus heals a paralysed man in Capernaum.

               28 AD                 Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to be a disciple.

               28 AD                 Jesus’s disciples pick ears of corn on the Sabbath.

               28 AD                 Jesus heals a man in the synagogue at Capernaum on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees begin to plot Jesus’s death.

               28 AD                 Jesus appoints his twelve apostles overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

Summer 28 AD           Jesus teaches parables about the ‘Kingdom of God’.

Autumn 28 AD            Jesus calms the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

              28 AD                   Jesus sends numerous evil spirits into a herd of pigs near Gadara.

              28 AD                   Jesus brings Jairus’s daughter back to life at Capernaum.

              28 AD                   John the Baptist is beheaded by Herod Antipas at Machaerus.

Winter   28 AD             Jesus sends out his twelve disciples across Galilee.

Spring   29 AD               Jesus feeds five thousand people in the territory of Decapolis.

              29 AD                  Jesus walks on the waters of the Sea of Galilee.

              29 AD                  Jesus visits the Mediterranean coastal towns of Tyre and Sidon.      He heals the daughter of a Phoenician woman.

              29 AD                  Jesus miraculously feeds another four thousand people.

Summer 29 AD           Jesus visits Bethsaida and heals a blind man.

               29 AD                  Peter acknowledges that Jesus is the ‘Messiah’ at Caesarea Philippi.

               29 AD                  Jesus is transfigured on the snow-topped Mount Hermon.

               29 AD                  Jesus pays his temple tax to the tax collectors at Caesarea.

Autumn  29 AD           Jesus attends the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. The Pharisees try to stone him for alleged blasphemy. He heals a blind man.

Winter   29 AD            Jesus is in Jerusalem for the mid-winter festival of Hanukkah.

              29AD                   Jesus declares ‘I and the Father are one’. The Jews try to stone him for what they perceive to be blasphemy.

Spring   30 AD              Jesus travels east and preaches near the River Jordan.

              30 AD                  Jesus visits Mary and Martha at Bethany. He raises Lazarus from death.

              30 AD                  Eyewitnesses report the event to the Jewish Sanhedrin, who plot to kill Jesus. Jesus escapes secretly to Ephraim with his disciples.


The death and resurrection of Jesus           Spring 30AD

Spring   30 AD            Jesus passes through Jericho on his last journey to Jerusalem. He meets Zacchaeus and heals Bartimaeus – a blind man.

Sunday 2 April            Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds assembling for the Passover Festival spread palm leaves on the road and greet him as the ‘Messiah’. Jesus and the disciples stay overnight at Bethany.

Monday 3 April          Jesus curses the fig tree for its failure to bear fruit. On arrival in Jerusalem, Jesus enters the outer courtyards of the Temple and drives out the merchants and money-changers.

Tuesday 4 April          Jesus teaches in the shade of Solomon’s Porch, a colonnaded portico on the edge of the Temple courtyard. In the evening, Jesus is anointed with expensive perfume at Bethany.

Wednesday 5 April     Judas Iscariot goes to the chief priests and agrees to betray Jesus.

Thursday 6 April         In the evening, Jesus and his disciples share the Passover meal in an upper room in Jerusalem. Afterwards, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Jesus is arrested and is held overnight at the house of Annas, one of the chief priests.

Friday 7 April             Jesus is tried before the Jewish council (the ‘Sanhedrin’) at daybreak. He is found guilty of ‘blasphemy’ which the council considers merits the death penalty. Peter follows, but denies three times that he knows Jesus. Jesus is brought before Pontius Pilate in the Praetorium (Herod’s Palace) and is condemned to death for insurrection. He is crucified by the Romans at Golgotha (the ‘Place of the Skull’) on the hill of Calvary just outside the walls of Jerusalem, and is buried in a new tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. The Sabbath day, the first day of the Feast of Passover, begins at dusk.

Saturday 8 April         The tomb is guarded by Roman soldiers during the Sabbath day.

Sunday 9 April           Three women come to anoint Jesus’s body, but find the tomb empty. An angel tells them that Jesus has risen from the dead. The risen Lord Jesus then appears to Mary Magdalene, to two disciples journeying to Emmaus, and to the eleven disciples in the upper room.

One week later           Jesus appears again to the eleven disciples in the upper room and invites Thomas to touch his wounds.

Some time later           After the disciples return to Galilee, Jesus appears to them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus cooks breakfast for them and asks Peter to ‘take care of my sheep’.

Forty days later          Jesus blesses the disciples and passes into heaven on the Mount of Olives.

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