According to Luke chapter 3, Jesus was thirty years old when He was baptized by John the Baptist and began His ministry.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recount the baptism of Jesus – a beautiful picture of His humility and submission to the Father’s will. But exactly how old was Jesus when He was baptized? Let’s look at some evidence from the Bible.
Jesus Goes to See John the Baptist
One of the first central characters we see in the Gospels is John the Baptist. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all remind us that John was prophesied about in the book of Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,Luke 3:4-6
the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’ ”
Between the time of Jesus’ birth and the launch of His ministry, John is one of the key characters in the Gospels. John’s role was to prepare the way for Jesus, the coming Messiah. He lived and taught in the wilderness, and people came out in droves to be baptized by him. He told the people, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)
As Jesus began His ministry, He went to see His cousin John in the wilderness to be baptized by Him. Though we read the account in three Gospels, Jesus wasn’t baptized twice. But if you were baptized before following Him, you might consider being baptized twice.
Jesus is Baptized by John
The scene of Jesus’ baptism is captured in three of the four Gospels. Jesus submits Himself to the Father’s will and humbles Himself before His cousin John in baptism. The picture is beautiful:
When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”Luke 3:21-22 (NIV)
We see the Holy Spirit descend on Him in baptism, and the voice of the Father declaring His love over the Son. The Holy Spirit is depicted as a white dove – potentially one of Jesus’ favorite colors.
If you’ve been united to Jesus, we know that the same is true for us: the Holy Spirit descends and the Father loves us as He loves His Son. What a beautiful truth.
Jesus is Thirty When He is Baptized and Begins His Ministry
Unlike Matthew and Mark, Luke records Jesus’ age around the time of these events.
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.Luke 3:23 (NIV)
Does this mean that He was also about thirty when He was baptized? Most scholars believe so, as Jesus’ baptism marked the beginning of His ministry – almost like a commissioning by God.
In the following years, He would minister to thousands, heal many, endure an unfair trial, receive a brutal lashing, and die on the Cross for His people.
But before all of that, we can say pretty confidently Jesus was around 30 when He was baptized.
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