Bible Question:

How old was Yeshua when He died?

Bible Answer:

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.

Year of Jesus’ Birth

Recently an extensive, well documented, comparative study written by Jack Finegan has demonstrated, using a weight of historical evidence, that Jesus’ birth occurred about 3-2 B.C. and not in 6-4 B.C.[1] 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. These ancient sources connect the time of Herod the Great’s death to a lunar eclipse. Using this information along with other historical facts, Jack Finegan has shown that Herod the Great probably died in 1 B.C. This is important since Herod died sometime after Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:19) This supports the conclusion that Jesus was born in 3-2 B.C.  For documentation of this conclusion please read “Prophecy of Daniel’s 70 Weeks.”

Timeline of Jesus and John the Baptist's Birth

Jesus’ Ministry Started About A.D. 29

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

Jesus may have started His ministry 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 as early as A.D. 28 (age of 3o – 3 B.C. + 1 year) or as late as  A.D. 29 (age of 3o – 2 B.C. + 1 year). Remember that we count only one year between 1 B.C. and A.D. 1 since there is no zero year. This information reveals that Jesus started His ministry about A.D 28-29. These dates are approximate since we are told He started His ministry about thirty.

The step in determining the year when Jesus started His ministry is to determine when John the Baptist started His ministry. The gospel of Luke states that John the Baptist’s ministry began during the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar or A.D. 28. Since John the Baptist began his ministry before Christ did, this would mean Jesus started His ministry after that (see Luke 3:1, 21) or about A.D. 29-30. This also reveals that Jesus had to be born about 2 B.C. or maybe in A.D. 1 just before Herod the Great died.

Length Of Jesus’ Ministry Lasted  3-4 Years 

The length of Jesus’ ministry was at least three years and maybe as long as four years. The gospel of John definitely tells us that at least three Passovers occurred during Jesus ministry.

Data For Length Of Christ's Ministry - Q&A

If Jesus’ ministry lasted three to four years, then it would have ended about A.D. 32-34. and He would have been 33 to 34 years old.

Date of Jesus’ Death

We know that Jesus could have died only in the two years of 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 full moon. The Jews selected Passover by the lunar cycle. Between the time period of A.D. 29 and A.D. 35, lunar eclipses occurred only on a Friday in the years of A.D. 30 or A.D. 33. Since Christ could not have died in A.D. 30, the year A.D. 33 is the only year that qualifies as the year in which He died.

Conclusion:

This means Jesus was 33 to 34 years of age when He died.

 

 

References:

1. Finegan, Jack. Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Hendricksen Publishers, 1998.

2. Johnston M. Cheney. The Life of Christ In Stereo. Western Baptist Seminary Press. 1696. pp. 226-236..

3. Cheny & Ellisen. The Greatest Story. Multnomah Books. 1994., pp. 274-275.

Suggested Links:

Prophecy of Daniel’s 70 Weeks
Was Jesus resurrected on the same day Noah's ark rested on Mt. Ararat?
In which month is the Passover?
Passover dates - A.D. 30-33