At what age did Jesus Christ die?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Holy Bible provides two methods for establishing Christ’s age when He died on Calvary’s tree for our sins.

Firstly, He was approximately 30 years old when He began His earthly ministry: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,…” (Luke 3:23). His ministry lasted just three years, according to Luke chapter 13: “[6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Therefore, we conclude Jesus was about 33 years old when He died.

Secondly, John’s Gospel Record uniquely provides a schedule of yearly Passover feasts held during Christ’s earthly ministry. Chapter 2 (verses 1-11) relates Jesus’ first miracle—transforming water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. This was near the first Passover (verses 13,23). A second Passover seems to be implied in John 5:1, although it is not explicitly named in Scripture like the others. Chapter 6, verse 4, is another Passover. Finally, John 11:5 onward (12:1; 13:1; 18:28,39; 19:14) is the fourth and last Passover—the one during which Jesus dies. In other words, we find three years among these four annual Passovers.

We can finetune our answer. If we date Christ’s birth in late September—the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, as opposed to December 25th—that adds a little more insight into His final age. (See our related study linked below.) Passover was held in the Jewish month Abib (or Nisan), roughly equivalent to our April (technically, it covers the latter half of March and the first half of April). To wit, if Christ died in April, and He had just turned 33 the previous September, He was an extra half-year old at His death. Therefore, He would have been executed at age 33½ years. Quite young indeed!

Also see:
» Was Jesus really born on December 25th?
» How long was Christ’s earthly ministry?
» Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?