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He is author of more than 50 books, including John Piper is founder and teacher of desiring and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. And if we assume that there was not a long time between the beginning of John’s ministry and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry then Jesus probably began in 27 or 28.
Sometimes Acts tells us how much time passed between two events; usually it does not. We will take as our pivotal starting point the “great famine” that was prophesied by Agabus and which befell Palestine during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius (Acts -29).
Josephus, a Jewish historian alive at the time, gives us enough information so that we can locate the famine sometime between the years 46 and 48 ( XX, 5, 2).
Luke says, “Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his public ministry.” This is only approximate; he may have been two or three years older or younger (cf. If we add 30 to the suggested date of birth we get A. But Luke 3:1-3 dates John’s public appearance precisely in “the 15th year of the reign of Emperor Tiberias Caesar” while Pilate was governor over Judea. John appears to make use of this to bring out the truth that Christ was slain as our Passover (cf.
Since the Passover is a yearly feast, the ministry of Jesus would then extend at least two and possibly three years. In Matthew, Mark and Luke the Friday of Jesus’ death occurred on the 15th of the Jewish month Nisan (which overlaps with our own March and April). So the question is: In which years from 26–36 (when Pilate was procurator in Judea) did 14th or 15th Nisan fall on a Friday? Of these 27 is too early and 33 is probably too late.It is a remarkable testimony to the influence of Christianity that the entire Western world now divides history into B. According to Matthew 2:1, Jesus was born “in the days of Herod the King.” But we learn from the Jewish historian Josephus that Herod died in the spring of 4 B. We may conclude then that Jesus was born about 7 B. This fits with Matthew which seems to say Jesus was born at least two years prior to Herod’s death in 4 B. There is no clear evidence as to the day and month of his birth. “According to the calendar Jesus was following, the meal was the Passover.The celebration of Christmas on December 25 originated in the fourth century and probably represented a Christian alternative to the pagan winter solstice festival. This cannot be right because Jesus’ ministry began after John the Baptist appeared. But the temple authorities followed another, according to which the sacrificial victims were slain the next day.How we date the first and third visits to Jerusalem as well as Paul’s conversion depends on how we relate these Jerusalem visits to those reported in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.The basic problem, which still divides New Testament scholars, is this: In Galatians –, Paul recounts his conversion followed by two visits to Jerusalem, one three years after his conversion () and one fourteen years after that (2:1-10).
John Piper is founder and teacher of desiring and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary.