The life of Jesus Christ is the center of Christianity. It is not surprising how theologians, and we as Christians are curious about the aspects of his life. Many speculations revolve around the birth and death of the Messiah. Although many claims are circulating on the question of “how old was Jesus when He died?”, the Bible can help us deduct which of these claims are probable. As impossible as it is to point out the exact date of the crucifixion, people also debate whether He died on a Friday or a Wednesday. Others also claim to have the exact time figured out. Before we take sides, let’s see what the Bible says and what the researches have proven.
Jesus’ Life As A Human
We cannot help but be curious about who Jesus was and how he lived his life. How tall was He? What did He look like? Or maybe what food he liked to eat. The Bible accounts for various historical events with dates that can be confirmed through historical documents. It also contains facts that were later proven by historical researches. However, despite these accurate details, there is still information that has not been included inside the Bible. These are the exact date of Jesus’ birth and the day of his death. Ironically, these events are the highlight of the Christian faith. So why did the Bible exclude this information? Is there a way to know the exact details of these events?
Although there aren’t any verses that state the exact age of Jesus when he died, we can find clues about it through dating the events of which he lived. To be able to answer the question “how old was Jesus when He died”, we must look at his milestones that will imply his age. From there, we can start counting his years on earth before he ascended into Heaven. And even if it is nearly impossible to accurately find the exact date, we can have an educated guess on how old Jesus was as he carried out his ministry. According to Jewish tradition, priests can start their ministry at the age of 30. So, we can assume that as a Jew, Jesus started his ministry at the age of 30 (Luke 3:23).
Jesus’ Life Before the Crucifixion
How old was Jesus when he died? Let’s first take a look at his milestones and the events in his life before he was crucified. Luke 2:21 says that like all Jewish boys, Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day after he was born. Jesus and Mary had to undergo the purification of 40 days after childbirth as the tradition dictates (Exodus 13:2, Numbers 18:15 -16).
Some theologians claim that the wise men visited Jesus a few days after He was born, while others say that he was already 2 years old. This conclusion is based on the Biblical account that tells how Herod ordered the death of all males in Bethlehem under 2 years old (Matthew 2:16). The narrative then skips to when Jesus was 12 years old and was seen in the temple talking with religious leaders, showing the depth of his wisdom (Luke 2:41 – 47).
There are speculations and theories about what Jesus did during his youth. If we consider how the ancient Jewish community worked, we can conclude that Jesus spent the days before his ministry as a carpenter. At that time, males were expected to follow the careers of their fathers. To further prove this fact, in Mark 6:3, Jesus was described as the son of a carpenter. Before Jesus was crucified, the Bible also does have information about his family. We can derive from the four Gospels that Jesus wasn’t Joseph and Mary’s only child for those who mentioned Jesus’ job scope as a carpenter, also mentioned Joseph and Mary’s other children. Hence we can conclude that Jesus had siblings.
How Old Was Jesus When He Started His Ministry?
Jesus’ age when He started preaching was documented in the Book of Luke. He was about 30 when he became fully committed to preaching and relaying God’s messages. This age of 30 can also be proven by the Jewish tradition that only a man who reaches his 30th birthday could attain priesthood. And because of His direct lineage to David, he had the full authority to become a Rabbi or teacher. At the start of his ministry, we can read how Jesus went through the same process every Christian does. He was baptized and later was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Throughout the different phases of his ministry, we can piece together dates of his life answering the question of “how old was Jesus when he died”.
Jesus’ Age When He Died on the Cross
The most common time that’s estimated to be the time of Christ’s death is the years between 29 to 33 A.D. This is because, through research, historians have found signs of an earthquake that happened near the time in which Jesus is predicted to have been crucified. Matthew 27 accounts for an earthquake that shook the earth when Jesus gave up his spirit. Josephus, an ancient historian, recorded an earthquake dating early spring in the 31 A.D, the second day of May on 1212 A.D, and January 1293 A.D. Between those earthquakes, the Jerusalem quake was dated to be on 31 A.D. Other approaches to dating the crucifixion have been circulating, one of these was through the use of history.
Tiberius Ceasar started his reign in A.D. 14, implying that John the Baptist started his ministry around early to late 29 A.D. And as it is said, Jesus’ ministry lasted for about 3 to 3½ years before he died. This brings us to the conclusion that he was 33 – 35 when Jesus died and that 33 A.D is the most probable year of his death. Additionally, we can assume Jesus’ age through the Book of John in which three Passovers are recorded (John 2:13, 6:4, 11:55). Each year, Jews will commemorate the story of the Israelites’ departure from Egypt (Exodus); so as the Bible records Jesus attending three Passovers after he started his ministry, we can make an educated guess of when he died.
The Effects Of Jesus’ Life And Death
So how does this information have an effect on us Christians?. What is the significance of knowing these facts about Jesus’ life? First, this makes Jesus’ life more relatable to us. Knowing how He lived as a human allows us to see things in our life in another light. We will be able to follow His footsteps on our journey to salvation. But the most important thing to remember is that it is true that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. His proven death shows us the depth of God’s love (John 3:16). Jesus taught us how to live in the way that God wants us to live. He showed us the proper way to spend our lives and taught us how to accept death. Because after all our suffering and pain, we as Christians can hope for eternal life.
The exact day of Jesus’ death and his exact age when he died does not matter in our salvation. What matters is how we value his death and what we will do to be saved through his sacrifice. Remember, Christ died to pay for our sins so we can live with Him in paradise forever.