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Was Jesus around the age of thirty or fifty during His minisrty?

by Robert Randle  
1/05/2011 / Bible Studies

It is the traditional belief that Jesus [YESHUA] started His public ministry of preaching and healing at the age of thirty which lasted for about three and a half years but only two of the gospel narratives mention anything about Jesus' age including His trip to the Temple with Mary, Joseph and their relatives at age 12 (Cp. Luke 12: 41-44). Why is it that people are so quick to accept Luke's version about Jesus' age when He was not among any of the eyewitnesses and not only that, but since he was a Greek-speaking Gentile it does cause one to question how much access he could have had to Jewish sources that were reliable and willing to share with a foreigner the complete truth regarding their Messiah, as in the following below:

Luke 3: 23
Now Jesus Himself began His ministry about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph. . .

NOTE: There is a slight vagueness about His age and even the paternity of Jesus was uncertain, but more or less the accepted opinion of LUKE'S sources based upon the comment in parenthesis.

John 8: 56-57
[Jesus answered] "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?"

NOTE: In this narrative Jesus [Yeshua] is thought to be around fifty years old and there is quite a difference between looking the age of thirty or fifty. Also, JOHN'S gospel seems to have been written by an eye-witness and would appear, at least on the surface to be more reliable than something written from sources that was not a firsthand account; but this is just food for thought and something to think about.

Moving past this Biblical tidbit is a "FREEBIE" that caused me to do a little research which is recorded below in the following:

John 2: 19-21
Jesus [Yeshua] answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty six years to build this Temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

NOTE: They were certainly not talking about the First Temple built by King Solomon because that only took seven years (Cp. 1 Kings 6: 37-38) and it was destroyed by the Chaldeans during the siege by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the captivity of Judah [Jerusalem] which is recorded in 2 Chronicles 35: 15-19, 2 Kings 25: 1-17, and Jeremiah 52: 12-13. After the 70 years of captivity in Babylon as prophesied by Jeremiah the Jews are allowed to return back to the land by permission of Cyrus King of Persia and allowed to rebuild the Temple (Cp. Isaiah 44: 28). Now this process of laying the foundation of the Second Temple took place through a succession of Persian/Medean Kings, starting with King Cyrus (Cp. Ezra 1: 1). Using the resource of "Wikipedia" [not 'Wikileaks'], he ruled for thirty years and doubtless the rebuilding project started and continued through his reign, as it says in the following Biblical account:

Ezra 3: 8, 13
The foundation of the LORD'S house [Temple] was laid in the second year of the coming into the land.

The next ruler is Ahasuerus [Xerxes] in Ezra 4: 6 and according to "Wikipedia" he ruled 21 years, and in Ezra 4: 7, 23-24 it says below:

In the days of Artaxerxes [Xerxes 1] during his reign the work of the LORD'S house ceased until the second year of Darius.

COMMENTARY: Again, according to "Wikipedia" this King Xerxes 1 ruled for forty one years. When King Darius the Mede reigns, he issues a decree to resume the work on rebuilding and the Temple is completed in the sixth year of his being on the throne (Cp. Ezra 6: 1-15). Now, the math seems to be 30 years under Cyrus + 4 years under Darius, which leaves 12 years that the Israelites worked on the foundation of the Temple under Ahasuerus [Xerxes] through Artaxerxes [Xerxes 1] until he commanded that the work cease. This doubtless, is the forty six year rebuilding project for the LORDS house [Temple] that the Jews were talking to Jesus about.

Robert Randle
776 Commerce St. #B-11
Tacoma, WA 98402
January 3, 2011

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