How Old Was Jesus?

Yesterday we looked at when Jesus was born… about AD8. Not everyone agrees on that, but that’s what I think is correct (at least currently). This is not a “core issue” simply interesting…

Introducing Jesus 648x310

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:1-3

Luke does a beautiful job of adding all kinds of detail. This is one of the most convincing reasons as to why the Gospels are NOT myth, legend, or any kind of fiction.

Today, we have the genre of fictional stories with real names and details added in for the sake of “realism.” This did not exist in the ancient world for hundreds and hundreds of years after the Bible. To claim that the Gospels were not intended to be a narrative-historical account of events is to assert the authors wrote a truly miraculous book that looked into the future.

Tiberius came home from conquest in Germany in October of AD12, in mid-AD13 Augustus instructed the Senate to increase Tiberius’ powers to equivalent to his, and then Augustus Caesar died on August 19, AD14.

So what was the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign? It would be AD26, 27, or 28. This is when Luke says John the Baptist was preaching and doing what he did, baptizing. Specifically, this is when Jesus comes to be baptized.

Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age…

Luke 2:23

So, based on yesterday’s post, Jesus was born in AD8, which puts him between 33-35 years old at the start of his ministry, which is well within the “about thirty years of age” statement in Luke 2.

Though there is no direct statement about the length of Jesus’ earthly ministry, there does seem to be three separate passover feasts  described in the Gospels. This is why most scholars would agree that the time from His baptism to the cross is probably a little over three years.

This is why I believe Jesus to have been crucified (and resurrected) in AD30, when he would have been 36/37 years old. It is also possible the cross took place in AD33 (the days of the week best match the Biblical account in AD30 & 33) when Jesus was 38/39 years old.

If you listen, you will hear people will speak of Jesus as dying when He was 33 years old, I don’t think that’s possible, but it stems from a misunderstanding based on Dionysius Exiguus getting the calendar wrong. The intention was to put Jesus birth exactly between Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi “In The Year of our Lord Jesus Christ” (AD). He was off by a few years (I think 8). This is compounded by people thinking Jesus died in AD33 (possible, but I find AD30 fits the timeline better).

I do think it’s possible Jesus began His ministry at 33 years old, I just find the idea he died at 33 less likely.

All this to say… the Bible is REAL! These are not fairy-tails or stories to make you feel better when you lay down to sleep at night. Jesus really lived, He physically died, and best yet… He actually was raided from the dead!

You can trust Him, you can trust the Bible, the New Testament is true!

What do you think?

About John Harris

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
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