HOW OLD WAS JESUS
WHEN HE DIED?

QUESTION: How old was Jesus when he died?

ANSWER: About 60 yrs. old according to one source. Most Biblical scholars believe Jesus was about thirty three years old at his death on the cross. They reach this conclusion based on the fact that the Gospel of Luke tells us his age at Baptism.

Luke 3:23 "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age......"

Then they count the number of once a year feast the Gospels say Jesus attended. There are three mentioned, primarily in the Gospel of John. From this they gather his ministry lasted for three years. Thirty years of age at Baptism, three years of ministry = Thirty three years.

However that belief is not shared by everyone. The second century Church Father Irenaeus wrote that Jesus Christ was around 50 years old during His earthly ministry. (Irenaeus was the diciple of Polycarp, who was a diciple of the Apostle John.)

Apparently there were some teachers late in the second century who were teaching that Jesus Christ's earthly ministry only lasted for one year, at the end of which He was crucified. This was largely based upon

Luke 4:19, "To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

Since John mentions three distinct passovers, we know that Jesus earthly ministry was at least two years, perhaps three. But Irenaeus says that Jesus Christ was around 50 years old during his ministry. He claimed that Jesus Christ advanced through all stages of human life so as to be an example for people of any age.

".. He was an old man for old men .." (Against Heresies 2:22:4).

Pointing out their error, Irenaeus said,

"... they are forgetful to their own disadvantage, destroying His whole work, and robbing Him of that age which is both more necessary and more honorable than any other; that more advanced age, I mean, during which also as a teacher He excelled all others. For how could He have had disciples, if He did not teach? And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a Master? For when He came to be baptized, He had not yet completed His thirtieth year, but was beginning to be about thirty years of age (for thus Luke, who has mentioned His years, has expressed it:

"Now Jesus was, as it were, beginning to be thirty years old,"
when He came to receive baptism); and, [according to these men,] He preached only one year reckoning from His baptism. On completing His thirtieth year He suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means attained to advanced age. Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years, and that this extends onwards to the fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify ..."
(Against Heresies 2:22:5).


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