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Did Jesus’ Ministry Last 3 Years?

This post was originally published on this site

We could explore a number of such traditions that Protestants ought to be willing to reconsider in light of the biblical data. In this post, I’ll tackle the typically unexamined maxim that Jesus’ ministry lasted for 3 years. A related assertion is that Jesus was 33 years old when he was crucified. Careful observation of the scriptural data will show us that these assertions could be true, but they are far from certain.

Protestants sometimes accuse Roman Catholics of holding to traditions not found in the Bible (e.g. Mary’s immaculate conception and perpetual virginity, etc.). But even Protestants must be careful with their judgment, as they will certainly be measured by the same measure with which they measure others (Matt 7:1-2). Certainly they don’t irrationally hold on to traditions unsupported by Scripture, do they?

We could explore a number of such traditions that Protestants ought to be willing to reconsider in light of the biblical data. In this post, I’ll tackle the typically unexamined maxim that Jesus’ ministry lasted for 3 years. A related assertion is that Jesus was 33 years old when he was crucified. Careful observation of the scriptural data will show us that these assertions could be true, but they are far from certain.

Reasons for the Tradition

If you research an article or book that examines the question, and doesn’t merely assert the 3-year timeframe, you’ll find the answer typically hinges on a few pieces of biblical evidence:

  1. Luke says Jesus began his ministry at “about 30 years of age” (Luke 3:23).
  2. John records three Passover events during Jesus’ ministry (John 2:136:411:55). That third Passover is drawn out also in John 12:113:1, and John 19:14.

From this evidence, the conclusion is drawn: He began at age 30, he ministered for 3 years (through 3 annual Passover feasts), and therefore he died at age 33.

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