Many people across the world ask this question when studying the Bible and learning about the amazing story of Jesus. To answer the question of how old was Jesus when He died on the cross, we’re going to rely on a couple of Bible verses to try to narrow down an age range for Jesus when He died for our sins.
Using the Bible to Verify Jesus’ Age
We will start by using a few different verses from the Old Testament to try to pin down Jesus’ age when He entered into the Melchizedek Priesthood.
First, let’s look at Matthew 3:13-15, which says the following:
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.'”
This is essentially saying that Jesus was baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness. This fulfillment in question was most likely a reference to the Old Testament requirements for being a priest, which had a minimum age requirement of 30. Jesus is named a priest after the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 5:4–6, “And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; 6 just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.””
Hebrews 6:20, “where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
One additional verse that proves the 30-year age requirement is as follows: “from thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tent of meeting,” (Num. 4:3).
All of this is to say that Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchizedek, and since a priest had to be at least 30 years of age, we can reasonably assume that Jesus was 30 when He began his ministry.
To continue to reference the Bible, let’s take a look at Luke 3:23, where the Bible tells us directly when Jesus began his ministry
“And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli…”
How Many Years Of Ministry?
We now only have to determine roughly how long Jesus’ ministry lasted to figure out how old was Jesus when He died on the cross. Thankfully, there has been quite a bit of Christian academic work in this field, and most scholars agree that Jesus’ ministry lasted around 3 – 3.5 years in length.
According to John’s Gospel, Jesus attended at least three annual Feasts of Passover through the course of His ministry: one in John 2:13, another in 6:4, and then the Passover of His crucifixion in 11:55–57. Just based on that information, Jesus’ ministry lasted 2 years, at the very least.
Because of the large number of things that Jesus was able to accomplish and the places He traveled during His ministry, many scholars believe there was another Passover, not mentioned in the Gospels, which fell between the Passovers of John 2 and John 6. This would increase the length of Jesus’ ministry to at least 3 years.
Conclusion – How Old Was Jesus When He Died On The Cross?
To wrap things up, all we need to do is add three years to the age of Jesus when He began His ministry, which would mean Jesus was around 33 years old when he died on the cross.