How Old Was Jesus When He Died? Answered!

By Charalampos •  Updated: 01/21/23 •  6 min read

The Bible describes well the events of years when Christ preached in Judea.

However, many people are interested in what year he was born and how old he was when he was crucified. In this article, we will explain these issues.

Chronology

Most people believe that Christ was 33 years old when he ascended to heaven, but there is no exact indication of the age of Christ in the Bible.

The year of birth may also vary, but we can roughly calculate his age taking into account the years of the rulers of Judea and events mentioned in the Bible.

When was Christ Born?

How Old Was Jesus When He Died

The Bible doesn’t specify the exact day or even the exact year in which Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but most Biblical scholars believe that the birth of Jesus occurred between 6 and 4 BC.

Details about the birth of Christ can be found in the Bible. Matthew 2:1 says, ” After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem,” which makes us understand that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod.

Herod died in the fourth year BC, and when Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt, Herod ordered the murder of all boys under two years old. Therefore, we can assume that Jesus was about two years old at that time, which means that Christ could have been born between 6 and 4 years BC.

The Gospel also mentions one historical event: “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” (Luke 2:1-2) We know that Caesar Augustus ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD, and Quirinius ruled Syria during the same time. 

At the same time, in the sixth year BC, a population census took place in Judea. We can assume that this is the same event. If we take into account this historical event, then most likely Christ was born in Bethlehem 6-5 BC.

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At What Age Did Christ Begin to Preach?

How Old Was Jesus When He Died

To calculate the approximate date of the crucifixion, we need to establish the year when Christ began to preach. The Gospel of Luke 3:1 says that John the Baptist began preaching in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, that is, around 28 or 29 AD.

The Bible also reports that Jesus Christ came to John the Baptist (John 1:28) (at the age of 30 – Luke 3:23) to be baptized: “This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.”

Many theologians agree that Jesus was probably baptized and started preaching approximately in 28 AD, while the Holy Fathers believe that Christ was baptized at the age of 30 since it’s from the age of 30 that a person could preach in Judea.

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Here is what St. John Chrysostom writes about it:

“But why did Jesus come to be baptized after 30 years? Because after this baptism, He should have already abolished the law. Lest someone should say that He was abolishing the law because He could not fulfill it, He fulfilled it in all accuracy throughout the entire duration of that age, which is usually capable of all kinds of sins.”

Many scholars believe that Jesus began to preach around 28-29 AD. According to the Evangelist John, Jesus preached for three years.

If we take into account the number of Easter celebrations that Christ has observed since the beginning of his ministry, we can conclude that he preached for about three and a half years and finished preaching around 33 AD.

When Was Christ Crucified?

Christ Crucified

In the Bible, the apostles write only the approximate age of Christ, for example, in the Gospel of Luke it’s written that Christ was about 30 years old:

“Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli.” (Luke 3:23)

This quote refers to the moment when Jesus began to preach. In the Gospel of John, unlike the Gospel of Luke, there is no indication of the age of Christ, but it’s said that Jesus Christ survived two or three Easter holidays after the beginning of his ministry.

We can try to define a time frame when Christ was crucified approximately. According to the Bible and the ancient Roman historian Tacitus, Pontius Pilate ordered the crucifixion of Christ. This procurator of Judea ruled from 26 to 36 AD, so the crucifixion could only happen during these ten years.

That is why it’s considered that Christ was 33 years old, although he could have been about 30 to 37 years old.

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There are several versions of the day and year when Christ was crucified:

The first version reports that the crucifixion took place on April 3, 33 AD. This is the most famous version because the New Testament says that the night before the crucifixion there was a full moon, and during the execution, there was a solar eclipse. Astronomers have discovered that such combination during the reign of Pontius Pilate occurred only once – on April 3, 33.

The Greek Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea wrote that Christ was crucified on August 19, 32 or August 18, 33, in the 19th year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius.

The third version: March 23, 31, because the next day was Saturday, and then Easter began, the third Easter of those mentioned by John the Theologian.

This is evidenced by the words from the Bible: ” Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.” (Mark. 15:42-43)

However, some theologians believe that in Israel the concept of the Sabbath or Saturday differs from the European concept. For example, Friday evening is considered the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. There are also festive Saturdays, such as Easter.

Many scholars believe that the Last Supper was on Wednesday, April 1, A.D. 33, the crucifixion was on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33, and the Resurrection on the third day.

We can only be sure that the crucifixion took place during the preparation for Easter: Thursday, Friday, or Wednesday.

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Final Thoughts

If we take into account the fact that Christ was crucified at 33 years old, although some scientists calculate differently the date of the beginning of his ministry coming to the crucifixion date of 30 years old, we can conclude that Christ was approximately 33 to 37 years old.

Calculating the date of birth and crucifixion of Christ is a difficult task that many scientists and theologians of the world are trying to solve. At the moment, we can only determine the approximate age of Christ, although the traditional point of view is the age of 33.

Charalampos

Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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