We believe that Jesus was either 32 ½ or 33 ½ years old when He willingly laid His life down on the cross. We arrive at that estimate by putting several Scripture passages together.

In Luke 3:23 we read, “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age” (NKJV). His ministry refers to the time when He began to publicly call upon men to repent, as we see in Mark 1:14-15: “Now after John (the Baptist) was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel’.” Do we have any clues to how long this lasted? We know His ministry ended when He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and delivered over to Pontius Pilate to be crucified. In between the beginning of His ministry and His crucifixion there are THREE PASSOVERS (an ANNUAL feast of the Jews) mentioned in the Gospel of John.

John 2:13 declares, “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” The general consensus is that this Passover took place approximately SIX MONTHS after Jesus began His public ministry.

Then in John 6:3-4 we read, “And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.” This Passover happened one year later, so at this point in time Jesus had been ministering the gospel for ONE YEAR & SIX MONTHS.

And finally, John 11:55 says “And the Passover of the Jews was near.” Verses 56-57 go on to say, “Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?’ Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.” This was the Passover upon which our Savior died, for he was the “Passover Lamb” and it was predicted in prophecy that He would die on that very day. This is confirmed in Matthew 26:1-2, “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Based on these three recorded Passovers, the ministry of the Lord Jesus lasted TWO YEARS & SIX MONTHS, making Him 32 ½ years old when He died.

But some scholars believe there was “another Passover” that occurred during the Lord’s public ministry, and that it is referred to in John 5:1, “After this there was a FEAST OF THE JEWS; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. According to them, this “unnamed” feast was the Passover and that would make FOUR PASSOVERS that was observed over the course of Jesus’ public ministry. If this is true, then His ministry lasted THREE YEARS & SIX MONTHS, making Him 33 ½ years old when He died. (248.3) (DO)