Jesus’ Age & Ministry

Having coffee this morning got me thinking about Jesus and his ministry here on earth.  I can remember in Bible study class how we were taught that Jesus died when he was around 30 years old and that his ministry lasted about three years.  I always trusted my pastor to be right but I wanted to find exactly where he got that information from.  So, here’s what I found and where I found it.

The Gospel of Luke 3:23 explicitly states that Jesus was “about” 30 years old when he was executed by the Romans.  But, the Gospel of John 8:57 disagrees with Luke by saying that he is “not yet fifty years old” which to me means he was around 45-49 years old.  I could be wrong but these were the only two places I could find any author mentioning Jesus’ age.

None of the Gospels explicitly state the length of Jesus’ ministry, but we can infer from the writings how long it lasted.  John’s Gospel mentions three different Passovers (2:13, 6:4, 12:1) and multiple trips to Jerusalem.  So, we can only guess that Jesus’ ministry lasted about three years.  However, from reading the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) we would assume that Jesus’ ministry took place within one year (one journey to Jerusalem and one Passover mentioned).

If I go with my pastor’s thought about Jesus being around 30 years old, then I’m ignoring what John says when he thinks that Jesus was about 15 years older.  If I believe that Jesus’ ministry lasted three years, then I must ignore the writings of the other three Gospel authors.

Oh well… time for another cup of Joe!

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