How old was Yeshua when He died?
Scripture does not tell us how old Yeshua – Jesus – was when He died. Yet, scripture does give us enough information to help us piece it together. Historians have given us information. The gospel writers give us His age when He started His ministry and provide clues as to how long His ministry lasted. When we add all of the pieces together we find that Jesus was 34 to 35 years old.
Recently an extensive, well documented, comparative study (Finegan, Jack. Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Hendricksen Publishers, 1998) has demonstrated using a weight of historical evidence that Jesus’ birth occurred about 3-2 B.C. and not in 6-4 B.C. This historical testimony about Jesus’ birth comes from chronologies provided by: Dionysius Exigius, Eusebius of Caesarea, Hippolytus of Rome, Hippolytus of Thebes, Irenaeus, Josephus, Julius Africanus, Origen, Paulus Orosuis, and Tertulian. Ancient sources connected the timing of Herod the Great’s death to a lunar eclipse. Using this information along with other historical facts, Mr. Finegan has shown that Herod the Great probably died in 1 B.C. This is important since Herod died sometime after Jesus’ birth (Matt. 2:19). This supports the other writer’s evidence that Jesus was born in 3-2 B.C.
The gospel writers tell us that Jesus started His ministry when He was about thirty years old.
When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age . . . (NASB) Luke 3:23
He may have been as much as six months before or after His 30th birthday. If He was born in 3-2 B.C., this would mean His ministry could have started somewhere between A.D. 27 and 6 months and A.D. 29 and 6 months. We count only one year between 1 B.C. and A.D. 1 since there is no zero year. The gospel of Luke says that John the Baptist’s ministry began during the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar or A.D. 28. This would mean Jesus started His ministry after that (see Luke 3:1, 21) or about A.D. 29 to 30.
The length of Jesus’ ministry was at least three years and maybe as much as four years. The gospel of John definitely tells us that at least three Passovers – three years – occurred during Jesus ministry.
|Passover Reference||Passage||Timing of His Ministry|
|Ministry Started And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there . . . (NASB)||John 2:1||Start|
|1st Passover And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (NASB)||John 2:13||1st Passover|
|2nd Passover Now it came about that on a certain Sabbath He was passing through some grainfields . . . (NASB) A comparison of the gospels will show that another Passover occurred between John 2:13 and 6:4. The UBS Greek text refers to the “Sabbath” in Luke 6:1 as a second-first Sabbath or Passover .[1, 2]||Luke 6:1||2nd Passover|
|3rd Passover Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. (NASB)||John 6:4||3rd Passover|
|4th Passover Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany. (NASB)||John 12:1||4th Passover|
|Died on Passover Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” (NASB)||John 19:14||Total time of 3-4 years of ministry|
At the end of a ministry lasting a little more than three years, Jesus’ ministry would have ended about A.D. 33. He would have been 34 to 35 years old.
We know that Jesus could have died only on A.D. 30 or A.D. 33 since the gospels say that Jesus died on a Friday during the Passover. The Passover date is significant because it could occur only during a lunar eclipse. The Jews selected Passover by the lunar cycle. During the year of interest, lunar eclipses occurred only on a Friday in A.D. 30 or A.D. 33.
This means Jesus was 34 to 35 years of age when He died.
1. Johnston M. Cheney. The Life of Christ In Stereo. Western Baptist Seminary Press. 1696. pp. 226-236..
2. Cheny & Ellisen. The Greatest Story. Multnomah Books. 1994., pp. 274-275.
Reference Links:Date of Jesus' Death
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