Jesus’ ministry on earth is the most moving and memorable time in the Bible because of the many miracles performed during these times. Believers remain steadfast in continuing what Jesus began and continuously put their faith in his Word. To understand how he lived and ministered while on earth, many ask, how old was Jesus when he started his ministry?
The Gospel of Luke suggests that Jesus was about 30 years of age when he began his ministry. Luke 3:21-23, When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you, I am well pleased.” Now, Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. This was just when John baptized him.
This article will discuss the Biblical evidence indicating the time Jesus began his ministry and explore scholarly articles referring to the same.
Is there biblical evidence of Jesus’ age when he started his ministry?
The book of Luke 3:23 talks about the age of Jesus when he began his ministry. Back then, the age at which a priest was allowed to enter the public ministry was 30 years. This is further implied by Numbers 4:3, which suggests that 30 years was when men of the Levitical family started serving in ministry and ended at 50 years.
Just as is stated in the scriptures, religious scholars and the Greeks all agree that Jesus began his ministry at the age of 30 years. According to many Biblical scholars, 30 is when someone fully matured physically and mentally and is capable of engaging in public ministry. This is why David (2 Samuel 5:4) and Joseph (Genesis 41:46) were also 30 years when they began their ministry.
There is no ambiguity among biblical scholars or Greek texts regarding the age of 30. Luke uses the word ‘about’ when referring to Jesus’ age at the beginning of his ministry. Oftentimes, the Word is used to offer ambiguity or to show uncertainty. However, we see that the Gospel of Luke has used this Word on several occasions (Luke 1:56, Luke 9:28, Luke 3:23, Luke 8:42). In all these cases, theologians imply that the Word implies the exact number.
His first action after his baptism and his return from the wilderness was to select his 12 disciples, and then he went to a wedding in Cana, where he turned water into wine. This was his first miracle since the beginning of his ministry.
Some believers argue that Jesus started ministry earlier when he was twelve, but this is a misguided notion. According to Luke 2:42-51, at the age of twelve years, Jesus went to the Passover festival with his parents, but when it was time to go back home, he did not return with his parents. Instead, he stayed in Jerusalem. Now, after looking for him for three days, his parents found him in the temple among teachers, listening and asking many questions.
The scripture suggests that Jesus studied and learned many activities that prepared him for his ministry. He did not start ministering then, as some theologians argue. On the contrary, he showed interest and learned a lot from the teachers, which he would use in his teachings in later decades. The Bible implies that Jesus lived in favor of God and men because he did not sin, even though he is believed to have been similar to you and me.
It is, therefore, safe to assume that Jesus started his ministry at the age of 30 years and performed for 3 ½ years before his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension.
What year did Jesus begin his ministry?
The scriptures do not give an exact year when Jesus began his ministry. However, religious scholars and theologians have come up with suggestions from the pieces of evidence given in the Bible. Luke 3:1-2 says that In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the Word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.
Tiberius Caesar is believed to have ruled since AD 14, right after the death of his predecessor, Augustus. This suggests that the fifteenth year, when John the Baptist started his ministry, would have been in AD 29. Not so long after this, Jesus was baptized by John (Luke 3:21-23).
Since then, he began preaching in synagogues in different towns. However, he became bolder after John the Baptist had been imprisoned by Herod Antipas. This is when he preached even more publicly. Religious scholars imply that he inaugurated his public ministry at Nazareth on a Sabbath day. On this day, he read from Isaiah 61:1-2. The Bible, therefore, speculates that this is the time Jesus began his ministry. Theologians also imply that not much time had gone by since his baptism, and hence assume that Jesus started his ministry in late AD 29 when he was about 30 years old.
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- How old was Jesus when he began his ministry
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.