Q. How old was Jesus when he died? - Jon Stawarz, Petersburg, VA
A. The gospels do not tell us how old Jesus was when he was crucified. Yet, we can know by faith after studying several Bible passages.
Galatians 4:4 says Jesus was born under the law. Which law? The Old Testament laws God had given to Moses. Those rules stated several times in Numbers 4 that a priest must be 30 years old when he began his ministry. Luke 3:21 tells us Jesus was about 30 years of age when he was baptized. Now we know why Jesus waited until he was 30 before leaving home.
At the beginning of his ministry a priest was to be ceremonially cleansed with water and anointed (Exodus 30). Jesus requested baptism telling John he must “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). That meant he had to be baptized, and afterwards we know he was anointed by the Holy Spirit (verse 16). Then, John recorded three Passovers Jesus observed over a 3-year period.
Jesus also fulfilled the Levitical calendar with all the Jewish feast days predicting special events in the life of Messiah. Colossians 2:17 says those special days were a shadow, or prediction, of things to come. The Hebrew text for John 1:14 reads, “The Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us…” That hints that John knew Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles which would be sometime from mid-September to mid-October. October to April, the time of Passover and Easter, gives the extra six months.
Therefore, we can estimate with a clear conscience that Jesus was 33 and ½ years old when he took upon himself the sin-debt of all those who commit their lives to him (John 3:16). I hope all my readers have claimed the substitutionary death of Jesus as payment for your sins!
• The Rev. Dr. Tom Lovorn is pastor of God’s Storehouse Baptist Church in Richmond and he writes a weekly question and answer column for The Progress-Index. Columns are real questions from readers around the world. “Dr. Tom”, a Petersburg resident, is a long-time columnist with The Progress-Index and a former pastor in the Petersburg community.