I’m 33 years old and people tell me it’s bad luck because that’s how old Jesus was when he was crucified. Is that true?

We don’t know how old Jesus was historically when he died. Luke’s gospel tells us “Now Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry” (Lk 3:23). This is the only allusion to Jesus’ age in the Bible. The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) seem to suggest that Jesus’ public ministry lasted about a year because they recount one time when he went to Jerusalem for an annual festival (Passover). John’s gospel relates that he went to Jerusalem for three annual festivals. Thus it is Luke’s comment that he was about 30 years old added to John’s insinuation that he ministered for three years that give us the tradition that he was 33 years old at the time of his death. We will never prove if he did indeed die at age 33; yet even if he died then, we could also assume he was resurrected at age 33. Rest assured, then, turning 33 years old does not imply that you are in for a bad year!

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.