How old were Jesus’ disciples?
Answer Neither the Bible nor any other source specifies the ages of any of Jesus’ initial twelve apostles. However, there are a few observations that may be made about their ages. First and foremost, according to Scripture, Jesus was around 30 years old when He began His public ministry (Luke 3:23). Students (or disciples) were often younger than their teachers in Jewish culture. As a result, it is likely that the disciples were between the ages of 20 and 30. Jesus also referred to them as “small children,” which might have been a reference to the fact that they were several years younger than He.
According to Matthew 4:21–22, James and John intentionally abandoned their father in the boat in order to follow Jesus.
They were most certainly teens by this point, as they were able to leave home to follow a rabbi.
Matthew 8:14 mentions his infirm mother-in-law, who was a sick woman.
- A fourth point to consider is that the subsequent lives of several of the disciples provide information about their likely ages.
- It had been 60 years since Jesus had walked with them.
- It is reasonable to assume that John was at least 20 years old at the time of the crucifixion, given his ability to care for Jesus’ mother (John 19:26–27).
- According to Matthew’s Gospel, which was written 30–40 years after Jesus’ resurrection, he was in his 20s when he followed Jesus on earth, implying that Matthew was in his 20s when following Jesus on earth.
- After that, if the youngster was clever and motivated in continuing his religious studies, he would seek out and follow a rabbi who would mentor him, and he would model his life after the rabbi until he was 30 years old.
- In most cases, a young man’s discipleship instruction under the supervision of a rabbi begins between the ages of 13 and 15.
- The precise ages of Jesus’ followers are not specified in the Bible; nonetheless, it is probable that they were all between the ages of 13 and 30 at the time they followed Jesus.
Due to this viewpoint, there is some variation in their ages, with John presumably being the youngest and Peter maybe being the oldest due to the fact that he had previously been married.
How Old Were The Disciples?
Topic:When it comes to the disciples, the question of how they could have written their letters 30 or more years after the crucifixion of the Christ tends to come up frequently. However, because males began working at a young age – maybe as early as 12 – that would be regarded unacceptable today, it is possible that estimating their ages would be a suitable solution. So, how old were they when they died? (Of course, the ages are approximate.) RESPONSE:As you correctly surmise, the solution to this question is somewhat shocking.
- How the disciples could be living and writing about the events of Jesus’ life as late as 95-100 A.D.
- According to prevailing expectations, even the other writers of the New Testament, like Matthew, Peter, and Paul, appear to be too old to be writing when they do, in their mid-60s and beyond – especially considering the life expectancies at the period.
- Because we’ve been shaped far more by Bible movies than we have been by the biblical evidence that has been made available.
- On the basis of Luke’s specific aging in 3:23, everyone accepts that Jesus was around 30 years old throughout his ministry.
Despite the fact that there is no indication in Scripture of a specific age for any disciple, we can conclude from the evidence in the Gospels and from a little research into 1st century Jewish culture that this idea, which has been depicted repeatedly in movies and pictures, is almost certainly incorrect.
Young boys in Judaism follow a fairly structured scholastic and life route, as seen in this illustration: “At five years old, for the Scripture, at ten years old, for the Mishnah (oral Torah, interpretations), at thirteen, for the fulfillment of the commandments, at fifteen, for the Talmud (making Rabbinic interpretations), at eighteen, for the bride-chamber, at twenty, for authority (able to teach others).” “At five years old, for the Scripture, at ten years, for the Mishnah,” As a result, during the time of Jesus, nearly all Jewish young men were married, and most were married by the age of 18.
- However, Peter is the only disciple who is documented to have been married in the Gospels (Matthew 8:14-15).
- As a result, we may infer that the disciples were all under the age of twenty, with some as young as fifteen.
- The education of a Jewish youngster came to an end at the age of fifteen.
- If you were 15 years old and finished with your basic study in Torah, a kid who was brilliant enough (or whose parents were wealthy enough) would locate a rabbi who would accept them as a pupil and mentor them.
- In this scenario, a brilliant Jewish boy from Tarsus is sent by his wealthy parents to Jerusalem to study under a renowned Rabbi.
- It is likely that if your kid did not receive this distinction, he would begin working by his mid-teens, and in virtually every instance, he would apprentice under his father in the family trade.
- The first is that most of the disciples were older than 15 when called, as in the example of James and John working in the family fishing company, indicating that they were apprenticing at their skills when called.
Peter is the exception to this rule, but because his brother Andrew is not married and because they’re working with James and John (Luke 5:10 – presumably their two families are involved in a joint business endeavor), it’s reasonable to assume they’re about the same age as each other.
Two, because we find them working in trades at the time Jesus summons them, it is unlikely that any of the disciples were “star pupils,” as the phrase goes.
Following their rejection as youths, they are probably surprised to be considered worthy of apprenticeship with a wandering Rabbi who was beginning to establish a name at the time.
The fact that they were passed over for traditional schooling explains why, after the resurrection, the Chief priests express concern about their educational background.
HBActs 4:13 (Hebrew) This explains why Peter is shown as the spokesman for the disciples — being the only one who has married, he is also the eldest of the group.
The idea that Peter is no older than 25 years old is highly believable, especially in comparison to the 45 – 55 year old Peter shown in most plays, movies, and other media representations.
Why not go ahead and do it sooner rather than later?
Furthermore, Jesus had to leave students in charge of stewarding the Church while he was away.
For the time being, the only other disciple outside Peter who may have been older than his adolescence was Matthew, who would have required to be an established adult in order to work as a tax collector for the Roman government as an independent contractor.
We believe that Jesus, as the Incarnate Word/Son of God, may make a paternal reference to any human being and that it would be appropriate.
However, we must not ignore Jesus’ human character as well as the nature of his patriarchal cultural background.
The fact that Jesus addressed his disciples as “children” may imply that they were predominantly – gasp!
Or at the very least, they are significantly younger than their Master.
Consider what might happen if the brothers were grown men (Matthew 20:20-24) in this incident!
Also keep in mind that Jesus dubbed them “Sons of Thunder” because they were presumably either loud or brave, which are typical qualities of adolescents.
Exodus 30:14-15 states that every male above the age of 20 was required to pay a fee to help keep the “Sanctuary” or Temple in good condition.
We may properly infer that the others were under the age of 20 and hence did not have to pay.
They’re young men!
The fact that a Rabbi more than ten years their senior has accepted their application for apprenticeship is considered an honor by the young men.
Don’t we root for them even more when these young 20-year-olds defy a corrupt priesthood system and openly proclaim the establishment of a New Kingdom on the planet?
Given that I am the father of two young men in this age range, I am filled with pride when I think of the commitments they have made to this same Kingdom, and how Jesus is glad to chose and utilize individuals of their caliber and character (Matt 11:25).
Even if he wrote his gospel, letters, and book of Revelation in the year 100, young John, who was possibly 15 during Jesus’ lifetime, would be just 85.
Jesus’ Bachelors: The Disciples Were Most Likely Under The Age Of 18
Group Portrait of American Male Teenagers, 2013 Jesus’ twelve disciples were probably young, almost allunder the age of eighteenand some as young as 15. All were most likely bachelors, but for one. There is no indicatorin Scripture of a specific age for any disciple. So we look through the lens ofhistorical contextas well asclues derived from Scripture. In the time of Jesus, a Jewish man received a wife after the age of 18. Peter was the only one known tohave been married. In Matthew 8:14-15,we learn that Peter had a wife when Jesus healed his mother-in-law.
Education Of That Time
What gives us the impression that Jesus’ followers were so inexperienced? This is supported by the educational tradition of the period. The education of a Jewish youngster came to an end at the age of fifteen. Higher education consisted of studying under the supervision of a local rabbi for individuals who were intelligent (or affluent). If they were unable to locate a rabbi who would accept them as a pupil (much like a college admission application), they entered the employment by their mid-teens.
The majority of the disciples were already learning their crafts, as was the case with James and John, who were both apprentices.
A Rabbi At The Age of 30
Historically, a rabbi of that era would begin accepting students when he reached the age of thirty. We think that Jesus began his public ministry at the age of thirty, when he was thirty years old. This is also consistent with the rabbinical traditions of the historical period as well. What was it about Jesus that made the establishment think he was crazy? He was not a rabbi who was responsible for teaching in the synagogue. He gave lectures near the seaside and from the top of a mountain. He was anti-religious in his views.
No one had ever thought about Jesus’ notion of loving everyone like he did.
Furthermore, Jesus declared that He was the Son of God.
(See also John 14:6)
Of fact, this group of young Jewish men were not recognized as “Christians” when they arrived. Almost certainly, they were only students of the Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, who taught them. According to what we can gather from the book of Acts, the early Jesus movement was referred to as “The Way” (Acts 9:2; Acts 24:14). It was not until Antioch, some years after Jesus’ resurrection, that the term “Christianity” was coined. (See Acts 11:27 for further information.) The disciples were most likely not middle-aged men, as shown in historical films and even in the most recent television miniseries, The Bible, which is currently showing.
Not only does it go against to historical precedent, but it also runs counter to Scripture. Matthew was the only one who may have been older than the others, except from Peter. He worked as a tax collector for the most of his life. “Here are a few biblical indices of youth development”:
The use of the term “little ones”
In Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, and John 13:33, Jesus refers to his followers as “little ones,” referring to them as children. If they were males, this would be considered a bit disrespectful, regardless of how radical or mild the rabbi is!
James and John
These two gentlemen were brothers. The children had a forceful mother called Salome, who insisted on arranging where they would sit at the dinner table with Jesus. If the brothers were grown men, Salome’s obstinacy would be quite incomprehensible. (Matthew 20:20-24; Mark 10:20-24). They were dubbed “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus because they were presumably either loud or courageous when they were young, attributes that Jesus admired in them.
Only Peter Is Known to Have been Paid the Temple Tax
Every male above the age of 20 who visits the temple of God is required to give a half-shekel as a census offering, according to Jewish law, which is found in Exodus 30:14-15. In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus asks Peter to “fish up” the tax he has been instructed to collect. And to discover a four-drachma coin in the mouth of the fish he has caught; enough to pay the tax for two men, himself and Jesus, when he opens the fish’s mouth. This is solely for Peter and Jesus, according to Jesus’ request. You may come to the conclusion that the others were minors and hence did not have to pay.
Teenagers have always played an important role in the moviegoing experience. Today, the physical movie theater remains a popular destination for teens, mostly because it provides them with opportunities to meet up with friends, go on dates, hang out, and so on. For many years in the 1980s and 1990s, I worked as a movie executive, always seeking for methods to make tales “younger.” Young Guns was an ensemble picture that included a retelling of “Billy the Kid” with a cast that was predominantly under the age of thirty.
With the disciples, it’s possible that we had a “Young Guns”-style cast.
The fact that you are a young disciple does not affect the truth of the Gospel.
How old were the disciples of Jesus when they joined him?
Although it is not stated clearly in the Bible, there are a few indicators that at least some of them were young — possibly adolescents or in their early twenties — when they died. Young men began their studies with a Rabbi when they were 12 to 30 years old, although they normally started when they were fewer than 20 years old, according to Jewish tradition. As a result, the majority of the apostles would have been teens when Jesus asked them to join him. Another important thing to remember is that John lived until at least AD96, when the book of Revelation was published, which is 66 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Additional evidence may be found in Matthew 17:24-27.
The other disciples were present (as evidenced by the preceding passages), but it does not appear that they paid the tax.
We know that a number of them had well-established occupations, such as fisherman (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) or tax collector (James and John) (Matthew).
However, because Jewish schooling often ended at the age of 12, they would have had plenty of time to acquire these crafts and still be able to join Jesus at an early age.
How Old Were the Disciples?
We have all seen photographs of Jesus instructing his followers, who appear to be adult males of around the same age as Jesus himself. But, is this depiction of the disciples correct, or may the disciples have been substantially younger than the depiction suggests? Keep in mind that just one aspect of Jesus’ calling and teaching of disciples was unique — the calling. We should never forget that. In first-century Judaism, numerous rabbis or professors taught pupils and trained them to become rabbis in the same way that they were trained.
Jesus, on the other hand, addressed his disciples by their first names – something he emphasized throughout his teaching (John 15:16).
So it’s very plausible that Jesus’ disciples were younger than we normally assume, and there’s even some scriptural evidence to suggest that this could have been the case in certain cases.
Consider the fascinating tale of the time when Jesus and his followers traveled to Capernaum, when the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax approached Peter and inquired, “Doesn’t your master pay the temple tax?” When Peter caught a fish, Jesus urged him to pay the tax for both Jesus and himself.
- The fact that Jesus only gave tax money for Peter and himself, and not for the other disciples, may appear strange at first – until we remember that the tax was only had to be paid by individuals above the age of twenty.
- While it’s possible that many of the disciples were in fact younger than we often believe, this would have had no impact on their capacity to serve as witnesses to the resurrection.
- At the end of the day, the age of the disciples doesn’t matter because we would have known what age they were if we had been told.
- But, returning to the question of how young Jews came to be pupils of a rabbi, it is important to recall that young males did not just show up at a rabbi’s door and expect to be instructed.
- People who wanted to become rabbis were inspected and evaluated by the older instructor, and only a select few were picked to be their disciples.
- Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from this for us now.
In terms of our own lives and callings, it’s possible that this is something we need remind ourselves of on a regular basis.
How old were the apostles when they began to follow Jesus? – Evidence for Christianity
Question:Do you have any suggestions for where I may go for information on how old the apostles were when they first came to faith in Jesus? Answer;I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I have read a lot of hypotheses put up by various authors on the subject. Overall, the Bible does not give any concrete proof regarding the age of the apostles. Conclusion: Historically, scholars have argued that the disciples were all under the age of thirty since they assumed the position of student to the “Rabbi” Jesus, which was customary at the time.
- Consequently, it has been widely assumed that many, if not all, of the apostles were in their early twenties or even younger, according to popular belief.
- In the end, this is all conjecture, and we will never know how old the apostles were because they were never born.
- John was nearly definitely less than thirty years old when he began to follow Jesus, according to this interpretation.
- John Oakes is a writer and poet.
This is a fascinating issue to investigate. There are, without a doubt, people who support both sides of this issue. However, we are in the midst of The Teen Decade, a span of time that occurs just once per century. The seven years from 2013 to 2019. So why not travel to that location? Throughout this decade, I have urged this generation to pursue the greatest spiritual Awakening that America has ever witnessed, particularly because they are the only living generation who has not witnessed a spiritual Awakening during their lifetime.
If you do a search on this blog, you will discover a plethora of posts on this subject dating back to 2012.
The Disciples were of a certain age.
Is there anything in theology that gives us a clue as to how old the followers of Jesus were?
Youth Disciples Have Evidence to Support Their Claims My research and opinions have been influenced by a variety of sources, including Bible historian Ray Vanderlaan, the text Manners and Customs of the Bible, and the historical background known in the first century from reading many commentaries.
First and foremost, the manner in which Jesus engaged with the Disciples A number of passages (Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, John 13:33, and John 21) in the Bible include Jesus referring to his Disciples as “little children” or using terms that are comparable, such as “little ones,” “children,” and “ewe’s.” When Jesus was alone with the Disciples, He would frequently give us the impression that they were novice fishermen and social misfits, and He would even employ parabolic language with them when He was alone with them.
- “Do you not understand?” Jesus had to question them several times.
- Second, the majority of the Disciples were single and unmarried.
- Because Jesus restored the health of his mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15).
- The spouses of the other disciples were not mentioned at all.
- The next point to mention is the educational process in Israel.
- If the Disciples were unable to locate a rabbi who would accept them as students, they would most likely enter the workforce by the time they were in their mid-teens.
- Without a question, the life of Christ had drawn them in, but they were all eager to begin a life of learning under the guidance of the Rabbi par excellence.
Look at the Temple Tax, for example, as a fourth example.
When they were discussing government and civil obligations, they were joking around.
Peter discovers a shekel in the mouth of the fish he has caught and uses it to pay the tax.
We read in Exodus 30:14-15 that Jewish law specifies that any male above the age of 20 who visits the temple of God is required to give a half-shekel as a census offering.
Fifth, consider the fervor and childlikeness with which the Disciples approach their work.
), how they were disturbed by the children around them (would anyone want their little brother or sister playing around them?
Another positive aspect was that they were quick to acknowledge their mistakes while also being corrected at the same time.
Without even a thought to why!
Finally We don’t know how old the Disciples were, whether they were teenagers or young adults.
For the last 30 years, I’ve been working with young people and have observed several promising signals that are relevant to the next Teen Decade and teens in general.
There’s also the potential.
And I have faith that they will play a role in the next big awakening in the United States of America.
Perhaps this group of teenagers in America today will be moved by the contemporary message of Christ and go on to do something as meaningful and long-lasting as the first Disciples of Jesus did in the first century.
A coin, a fish, and a disciple: How old were Jesus’ disciples?
The Last Supper, a picture by Leonardo Da Vinci, has had a significant impact on the imagination of people throughout the Western World. With the exception of the conspiracy beliefs, it beautifully summarizes how we view the disciples: mature men, some of whom are in their senior years. The logical understanding that Da Vinci had no notion what the disciples looked like and that he painted them to seem like people from his period and society is sound, but the historical imagination may be readily misled by images.
If we are familiar with the rest of the globe, we could picture them to be more middle-eastern in appearance.
What if this isn’t the picture depicted by the Gospels after all?
Disciples as teenagers?
According to the Gospels, we know very little about the demographics of Jesus’ closest disciples (the 12 closest followers). We do know a few facts, such as where a handful of them came from and that Levi worked as a tax collector, among other things. Some of these specifics clearly indicate that certain age ranges are in the ballpark. It is possible that Peter and Andrew were still working with their live dad when the photographs were taken, indicating that they were not old adults. However, this still leaves a rather large range of ages available.
The Gospel of Matthew contains an interesting little anecdote that paints a suggestive image of the fact that many, possibly perhaps the majority of the 12 closest disciples of Jesus were really teens!
Take it from the Fish’s Mouth
Matthew 17.24-27 is the paragraph that is of particular relevance. In Capernaum, when the tax collectors approached Peter and asked, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” Peter said affirmatively. 25 He responded affirmatively. And when he entered the home, Jesus addressed him first, asking, “What do you think, Simon? ” Who is it that the monarchs of the earth collect toll or tax from? “Do they want it from their sons or from others?” 26 Moreover, when he stated, “from others,” Jesus responded by saying, “Then the sons are free.” 27 However, in order not to offend them, go to the sea and cast a hook, catching the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will discover astater within.
By Johny SYSEL – Original work licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Aside from the overall fascination in this narrative, which involves Jesus paying for the tax with a penny in a fish’s mouth, this text may give a glimpse into the life of Jesus’ closest disciples. What do you mean? The temple tax is at the center of everything.
Temple tax and coins
The temple tax, about which the “collectors of the didrachma tax” were inquiring, has its origins in the book of Exodus. Exodus 30:13 states that “each one who is numbered in the census should pay this: half a shekel () according to the shekel () of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a sacrifice to the LORD” for each person numbered in the census. ESV The census was conducted for persons who were 20 years old or older (Ex. 38.25-26). While it is not immediately clear in Exodus that this was intended to be a recurring tax, it appears that this became the case at some point and persisted until the time of the birth of Jesus.
A Shekel by any other name…
On a tangential note, this passage from the Septuagint (LXX) is worth a look if you have time. According to the LXX, the temple-tax had a different value than the verse in Matthew, providing us with a quick insight into the intricate world of ancient money. For example, according to the LXX, Exodus 30.13 reads: “Vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vayyeh vay And this is what they will offer to everyone who agrees to participate in the census-taking process: a half-didrachma, which corresponds to the didrachma of the sanctuary.
- The amount of tax levied on each individual is a half-shekelorhalf-didrachma.
- Astateris a coin worth fourdrachmas, or twodidrachmacoins, depending on how you count it.
- In Egypt, the Torah part of the LXX is believed to have been translated in or near Alexandria somewhere between 300 and 200 BC, according to the most widely accepted theory.
- Consider what it would be like to try to exchange currencies in such a system.
Who pays the tax and why it matters
The third point to make is to follow the “they” throughout the text, starting at the beginning of the passage: “When they came to Capernaum,” and continuing until the end. If you follow the pronouns all the way back to Mt. 17.19, you will eventually get at “the disciples.” Generally speaking, the term “disciples” in Matthew refers to the 12 apostles, especially in circumstances when public ministry is not in question. Putting all of these findings together, we might conclude that Jesus’ closest disciples were youths, which is strongly implied by this paragraph.
- Based on this, it appears that they were the only two people in the group who were older than 20 years of age.
- This suggests that the narratives are not in chronological sequence and that the cast of characters changed between the several events, at least historically speaking.
- Another possibility is that some or all of the other disciples were older than 20 and had previously paid their income tax.
- Finally, one of the Church Fathers proposes the view that the tax under issue here is really the redemption of the firstborn, rather than the temple tax, which is supported by the evidence.
- While I believe this is exceedingly unlikely, it is novel.
It’s possible that Jesus’ closest disciples were not the burly, bearded men that appear in so many depictions of him in art. It’s possible that they were still working on their first beards!
From the standpoint of attempting to comprehend the Gospels in their social and historical context, this chapter offers as an intriguing counterpoint to the broad picture of Jesus and his disciples that is prevalent in current Western society. When a reader discovers that Jesus was not a white guy with long, straight, brown hair, but rather a Palestinian Jewish man who lived in Galilee, it is a comparable “aha” moment. Reading this from the perspective of the Christian community, it has important implications for deliberating on what it means to be and live as a true follower of Jesus.
- Imagine Peter and John and the others as a group of teenagers, standing before the nation’s most powerful body.
- Similarly, the ESV substitutes “two-drachma” for the currency name “didrachma,” and “shekel” for the coin name “stater” where I have written “didrachma.” The words “didrachma” and “stater” are clearly defined in the Greek language, indicating that they are both Greek coins.
- It is also possible that the names of the coins have been derived from Greco-Roman coinages that are similar in value to the amounts being paid, though I believe this is less plausible.
- The following is taken from Catenae (Novum Testamentum), Catena in Matthaeum (catenaintegra) (ecod.Paris.Coislin.gr.
- 1″, Ed.
- Page 142 contains the first paragraph of the text of interest.
Jesus’ Disciples: A teenage posse?
What was the age of the disciples? Are they in their twenties? Men in their eighties and nineties with grey beards and walking sticks?
The theory of a young age of the disciples
Ray Vander Laan, one of my favorite Bible History lecturers, introduced me to the hypothesis that, with the exception of Peter, the twelve disciples were all under the age of twenty when they met Jesus for the first time. To be really honest, I felt a great weight being lifted off my shoulders. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to wrestle with the notion that those twelve incorrigibles were dumb and immature in my opinion! To age them while they are still in adolescent, at least in my opinion, really enhances their public profile.
Is it, however, biblical?
The pros for a young age
Following are some of the reasons Ray Vander Laan uses to support his theories, as documented on the discussion board (most recently updated in 2018.) He has added a new page on his website dedicated to the rabbi and talmid.) Follow the Rabbi is the name of his website.
The temple tax
According to Exodus 30:14-15, every male over the age of 20 who enters the sanctuary of God is required to pay a half-shekel as a census offering when he does so. In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus asks Peter to “fish up” the tax he has been instructed to collect. Peter discovers a shekel in the mouth of a fish he has caught, which is enough to pay the tax for two men, himself and Jesus, as well as the fish. You may come to the conclusion that the others were minors and hence did not have to pay.
The use of the term “little ones”
Several times in the Bible, Jesus refers to his followers as “little children,” which would be a bit demeaning if they were adults. Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, and John 13:33 are examples of such references.
They were unmarried
When Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law, we learn that he had a wife as well (Matthew 8:14-15). In those ancient times, a Jewish man does not marry until he reaches the age of eighteen. There are no additional disciples’ wives mentioned in this passage. You may infer from this that they were unmarried and so under the age of majority.
The education system of Israel at the time of Jesus
We learn about ancient Jewish education traditions in Avot 5 (from the Mishnah:rabbinical commentary that was added to the Old Testament): scripture study begins at age 5; Mishnah study at age 10; Torah obligations at age 13; continued rabbinical study at 15 if chosen to be tutored by a formal teacher or apprenticed to a trade; marriage at age 18; formal teaching at age 30. Jewish children began serious study at an early age, although the majority of them completed their education by the age of fifteen.
Unless they were able to locate a rabbi who would accept them as a pupil (much like a college admissions application), they were forced into the workforce by their mid-teen years.
A younger age is therefore more likely than an older age in this situation.
A man over the age of 30 abandoning his trade to follow a rabbi would be considered counter-cultural; this is not to say that it was impossible (Jesus was unquestionably counter-cultural), but it was more likely that they were younger than older.
The zeal and folly of youth
Adolescence is characterized by zealousness and folly, and the behavior of the disciples described in the gospels is consistent with this characteristic. If older men were disputing about who would be the greatest during Jesus’ reign, wouldn’t it make more logical that teens were doing the same? Imagine a band of teenagers instead of a group of veteran sailors onboard the boat when the storm came, terrified and frantically calling out to Jesus for assistance. When I consider the forgetful and distracted nature of youth, it becomes easier to see how they could hear Jesus declare he would die and come back to life, then act in the manner in which they did when these events occurred.
They hadn’t been paying attention in class, and this was the result.
It is easier for me to grasp Jesus’ compassion with them, his modest expectations of their behavior and the manner in which he teaches them when I age them under twenty.
It just makes sense to me, as someone who has battled to remain detached from the ridiculousness of the behavior of the “grown men” disciples.
The cons for a young age
There are many who are critical of any instructor or author who chooses to go on the record. Chuck May’s article, How Jewish do you have to be to comprehend the Bible?, in which he discusses his concerns to Vander Laan’s Jewish premises, is available online. Despite the fact that I do not agree with his points of view, I felt his arguments against the disciples’ young age were worth considering.
Matthew was a tax collector.
However, the Bible does not state that Matthew was apprenticed to be a tax collector, nor does it state that his father was a tax collector; rather, the Bible states that Matthew himself was a Roman assigned tax agent. Would the Romans have put their faith in a youngster to do this kind of work? I honestly don’t know, therefore I can’t comment one way or the other. However, it is possible that this is a reasonable point.
Jesus gave his mother to John.
At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusts John with the care of his mother. If you adopt the young age viewpoint at this moment, John might have been as young as 13 at this point. Would Jesus have put his faith in a tiny kid to carry out this mission? Alternatively, you might claim that because Jesus knew John would outlast everyone else, he was the most trustworthy! Jesus was very close to John, and it’s possible that Jesus sensed in him the ability to undertake this monumental task. I think of the young pioneers who were entrusted with the responsibility of caring for their families at very young ages during the early settlement of the western United States.
(Please keep in mind that this is supposing that the beloved disciple was John.) (For more information, see this post: Unsolved Mystery.)
Does it really matter?
Nah. As a result, it’s hard to make a definitive statement, and because the Bible doesn’t make a big issue about it, neither will I. I appreciate the notion of requiring followers to be younger in age since it is in line with my sense of fairness. However, keeping them in their twenties and thirties, as is customary, does not detract from the gospel message. So make your choose! This issue will be covered in more detail in a subsequent post.
What were the ages of Jesus’ disciples when they were chosen? Why didn’t Jesus choose any woman disciples?
It is unknown how old each of Jesus’ twelve Apostles was at the time of their selection, and we have no way of knowing their exact ages. We may deduce from some of the dates and times of their deaths that none of them could have been more than middle-aged at the time of their deaths. Prior to meeting Jesus, the majority of the disciples were employed in a trade (fishing, tax collection, etc.). It’s also worth noting that following Jesus during his earthly career was a physically demanding lifestyle, with plenty of walking, long days of preaching and ministering, and other such activities.
- As a youth, arguably the youngest of the apostles, St.
- The majority of them, on the other hand, were most likely young to middle-aged guys.
- Some people may view Jesus’ choice not to pick any women among the twelve Apostles as a sexist remark, however this is not the case.
- Despite the fact that Jesus did not select any women to be among the twelve Apostles, he did invite both men and women to follow him.
He was accompanied by the Twelve and several women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, including Mary, known as Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been cast out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and a large number of others who provided for them out of their own resources” (Luke 8:1-3).
His Gospel contains the accounts of Mary (the Mother of God), Elizabeth, and his visit to Martha and Mary, all of which are based on his own words.
Based on this example, we can see that early Christianity was at a crossroads, caught between the ways of the world and the ways of the Lord.
While Jesus could have chosen any method of birth, he chose to be born of a woman–specifically, a virgin–in order to be closer to God.
Mary Magdalene was the disciple who witnessed the Resurrection and reported it to the Apostles; as a result, she is given the particular distinction of being known as theApostola Apostolorum, or the “Apostle to the Apostles,” and her feast day is today recognized as a feast of an apostle (a rare honor only shared by a few others outside of the twelve Apostles, like Paul and Barnabas).
- Throughout history, Jesus has demonstrated a specific spiritual closeness with virgins and dedicated women, whom he loves tenderly and has displayed a special spiritual intimacy with.
- These approaches were not always understood or accepted by the people of Jesus’ day, but through the years, society has gradually come to recognize and accept what Jesus always knew and intended: the co-equal and unique dignity of man and woman on the same level as the rest of creation.
- One of these methods was through the institution of the priesthood.
- The Church is referred to as theBrideof Christ, and Jesus is referred to as theBridegroom; individuals who are ordained via Holy Orders are entering into Christ’s identity as the Bridegroom of the Church.
- This is not because women have any less dignity or worth than males, nor is it because women are incompetent (if anybody was deserving of such an honor, it was unquestionably the Virgin Mary!).
- Yes, the priesthood is a position of authority, but that authority is to be given in service to the Bride, not wielded as a weapon or exploited for the sake of gaining power over others.
- Men have historically held positions of authority, and that authority has been abused numerous times in the context of women.
- Jesus’ example gives me encouragement, though.
Jesus glorified the role of spiritual fatherhood through the priesthood; perhaps we can reflect more on the ways he has glorified the role of spiritual motherhood in different ways. Jesus desires us to learn from each other and help each other, not lord over others or break them down.
Disclaimer: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Jesus youth movement or its affiliates.
What were the ages of the Apostles Peter and John when Jesus was crucified?
When Jesus was crucified, what were the ages of the Apostles Peter and John at the time? The Apostles were divided into two groups, according to Catholic tradition: St. Peter was the eldest and St. John the youngest. According to the New Testament, John the Apostle lived from 6 AD to 100 AD and was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome and is often regarded as the youngest of the apostles. His brother, James, was also one of the Twelve Apostles and he was the youngest of the group.
Most Christian denominations have long claimed that John the Apostle is the author of numerous books of the New Testament, according to their oral traditions.
John’s birth, which indicates he was around 24 years old at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, if the Crucifixion took place in the year 30 AD, according to certain scholars.
So much of this debate is just based on historical precedent.
Peter is considered to have been born at Bethsaida (John 1:42, 44), about the year 1 AD, according to the majority of scholars.
Peter’s genuine and original given name was Simon, which can also be found in the form Symeon on occasion.
Jonathannes was the son of Jona (Johannes).
Peter the Apostle) In terms of how and when the Apostle St.
Historical documents are not more certain of anything than they are of themselves.
Some suggest that he died in the year 55 AD.
Peter was born in the year 1 AD, he would have been 29 years old at the time of the Crucifixion, which is believed to have occurred in the year 30 AD.
There appears to be no historical evidence to support the ages of any of the apostles, which is why the Church chooses to rely on tradition in this area rather than evidence.