Thursday, November 7, 2013

One Year Ministry for Jesus

This analysis goes a long way to settling niggling historical issues regarding the ministry of Jesus.  A one year cycle was just enough time to build excitement and an ecstatic following.  Much longer and we start having back sliding and momentum loss.

Better, it is too short a space to properly enter the historical record where he is clearly missing.  Such requires that he be around long enough to enter the governmental reports going back to Rome.  A year is really too short in a world communicating over the weeks and three years is ample enough to produce a disturbance followed by action, after action reports and all that.  In this way the name of Jesus was never attached to movement yet seen as a threat to Rome.

I suspect that we always understood that those events covered a much briefer span than taught.  Likely successors wanted to provide more weight to his ministry in view of its actual impact after they had lost faith in the reality of his outright resurrection.  Without that event Jesus gave a handful of nice speeches, showed off magical powers and then got himself crucified for been lippy and annoying his betters.

In fact it is all about the resurrection which as of the report last year on the Shroud of Turin, has been proven to be a artifact of a clear cut planar scanning process that moved from one end of the body to the other with a substantial burst of energy.  This is something that we presently cannot do and we remain confounded.  This huge discovery has gone ignored by the media.

Jesus preached for only one year, not 3½!

written for Viewzone by

Some people believe in Jesus (Yahushua). Others claim he didn't even exist. But virtually everyone, no matter how they feel about him, agrees that his public ministry was about 3 or 3½ Years.

Everyone, that is, except Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The first three gospels detail less than one year. The Gospel of John presents the full year, giving a more detailed account of the beginning of Jesus' ministry. There was no 3½ Years.

Our Strategy: Compare the Gospels to the Hebrew Calendar

Our strategy to determine the chronology is to note that the Hebrew calendar contains various annual religious festivals ("Feasts"), three of which (shown in red below)required mandatory attendance by all Jewish men at Jerusalem.


[Above are the festivals of the Jewish calendar for the year.]
This means that Yahushua ("Jesus"), as an observant Jew, was expected to attend:
Passover (Spring)
Pentecost (Late Spring)
Tabernacles (Fall)

in Jerusalem. By following the calendar and starting with the chronology in the Gospel of John noting Yahushua's attendance at the Feasts correlating this to the other three Gospels we will discover that his public ministry was about one year long. (Further investigation reveals that the entire length, including the 40 days fast in the wilderness and 50 days until Pentecost, is exactly 490 days. However, that exercise is beyond the scope of this article. reference).

How the Gospels were written
Each of the Gospel writers concentrated on a different aspect of Yahushua's ministry:
Matthew -- the King
Mark -- the Servant
Luke -- the Son of Man
John -- the Son of God
Although the Gospel writers writers wrote in different styles, they all followed the same general pattern:
An introduction, consisting of a genealogy of Yahushua and some background history.

A detailed eyewitness account by the narrator, which begins at a certain point in Yahushua's ministry when the narrator becomes personally involved.

Here's how they did it:

Matthew used history from other witnesses concerning the birth of Yahushua, but his own eyewitness observations from observing Yahushua in Galilee, and then in more detail after he became a disciple. Since he is concerned with the laws of the Kingdom, his report is not always chronological, but he groups things according to theme.

Mark got his details from Peter, and, after the introduction, gives an account following Peter's acceptance of the call to be a "fisher of men".

Luke compiled his account from other witnesses, and thus includes many other details, for example, on the birth of John the Baptist. Luke's gospel is generally chronological.

John was an eyewitness, and only wrote what he directly saw (except for the brief introductory account). He was a disciple of John the Baptist, and followed Yahushua from that time onward; he presents a chronological account.

A brief walk through the Chronology
The Beginning
Since John presents a chronological account starting at the beginning, we will go there now. After his introduction from John 1:1-14, the gospel begins with the testimony of John the Baptist to the priests and Levites from Jerusalem, John 1:19.

John is giving his testimony at the same time that Yahushua is being tempted in the wilderness near the end of his 40-day fast. We read that "the next day", after speaking with the Pharisees, he saw Yahushua coming towards him and called out "Behold the Lamb!" (verse 29) Yahushua was returning from the wilderness. This day in verse 29 is the first day of the Jewish year, and begins "The Year of favor of the LORD" (Isaiah 61:2).

John repeats his "Behold the Lamb!" proclamation "the next day" (verse 35), being now two days after John's testimony to the priests in verse 19. Andrew and John then follow Yahushua; Andrew gets his brother Simon (Peter), and then on the "day following" (verse 43), Yahushua finds Philip, who gets Nathaniel. They all leave Bethsaida, travel a day, and then on the "third day", they all go to the wedding at Cana -- (John 2:1).

Here is a timeline of the first week. It is a foretaste of the busy schedule Yahushua will follow.
Yahushua baptized
40 days in wilderness
last day of previous year -- Yahushua's final temptation in the wilderness; John gives testimony to priests
day 1 -- Yahushua returns from the wilderness; John says "Behold the Lamb" (John 1:29)
day 2 -- John again says "Behold the Lamb", John and Andrew follow Yahushua (John 1:35-36)
day 3 -- Philip and Nathaniel join (John 1:43-45)
day 4 -- traveling from Bethsaida to Cana
day 5 -- wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11)
At the wedding, Yahushua arrives with John, Andrew, Simon, Philip, Nathaniel, and possibly others. This is the first miracle Yahushua performs, and after the wedding, he goes with the disciples and his family to Capernaum for a few days. (John 2:12)

It is now time for the Passover, which is 14 days after the beginning of the year; it is two weeks after John announced "The Lamb". Arriving in Jerusalem, he prepares for the Passover by expelling the money changers from the Temple (verse 14), and when the priests ask for a sign, he introduces the prophetic statement "destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up" (verse 19).

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, witnesses this event, and comes to Yahushua at night during the week of unleavened bread connected with the Passover. Afterwards, Yahushua and the disciples went into Judea where John was baptizing, John 3:22.

John continues baptizing; it has only been a few weeks since he said "Behold the Lamb". In John 3:25, an argument develops between John's disciples and Yahushua's disciples about ceremonial washing. Why? Because of the recent miracle of turning the water to wine, which had defiled the Pharisees' ceremonial washing vessels.

Yahushua's disciples, and also John, continue to baptize, but when Yahushua finds out that the Pharisees are on his case, John 4:1-3, he heads towards Galilee, passing first through Samaria (John 4:3-4). At Samaria, he meets the woman at the well, and then with the entire town (John 4:5-42), and stays there for two days (verse 40). He even tells them that he is the Messiah (verses 26, 42).

Finally, in verse 43, he continues his journey to Galilee. This could be the time of his rejection at Nazareth (verse 44). The Galileans received him since they had seen the things he had done in Jerusalem at the Feast of Passover (verse 45), which was just a few weeks before. In verse 46, he comes again to Galilee "where he had made the water wine" and heals the nobleman's son (John 4:46-53). It's been less than two months since John announced "The Lamb".

The next thing we see is "a feast of the Jews", and Yahushua goes to Jerusalem (John 5:1). What feast is this? Many people believe this to be the next Passover. But we see that it's only been less than two months since the last Passover.

This is Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover/Unleavened Bread Feast of First fruits. Pentecost is a pilgrimage feast, and Yahushua is required to attend it, which he does. Keep in mind that when there is a "multitude" (verse 13) present at a pilgrimage feast, this means hundreds of thousands of people. He heals the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethseda (John 5:2-9), and the rest of the chapter documents his encounter with the Pharisees. (John 5:9-47)

The result is that they want to kill Yahushua. John the Baptist (not John the Gospel writer) is put into prison; when Yahushua finds out, he heads off to Galilee. Apparently, at this time John also goes back to Galilee to join his brother and father in their fishing business.

So John does not narrate his eyewitness Gospel account while he is out fishing. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, however, cover this period.

John rejoins Yahushua and Simon Peter in Galilee at the event known as the "Call by the Sea" where those disciples make a commitment to become "fishers of men". (see Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, and Luke 5:1-11.) Mark's Gospel, based on eyewitness information from Simon Peter, begins in full detail here. Matthew and Luke also cover this period. Although Levi-Matthew's formal call at the tax booth did not occur until slightly later, Matthew himself, residing in Galilee had heard and observed Yahushua prior to this. Luke apparently got information from many sources.

Halfway through the year

The next Feast is the Day of Trumpets, the first day of the seventh month. This feast does not require attendance at Jerusalem, and Yahushua and his disciples are in Galilee. This is the occasion of the "Feeding of the Five Thousand", and is presented in:

Matthew 14:13-21
Mark 6:30-44
Luke 9:10-17
John 6:1-14

Where did all those crowds come from? How was it that all these people had time to go out to see Yahushua, and John the Baptist? Because AD 27, when John the Baptist preached, was a seventh-year Land Sabbath, and AD 28, when Yahushua ministered, was the Year of Jubilee, in which the people had a year free from their usual work in order to follow him! (The fact that AD 28 was a Jubilee year, can be confirmed with the records of the historian Josephus, who lists the previous Jubilee.)

The next Feast is ten days later, on the tenth day of the seventh month, and is the Day of Atonement. This feast also does not require attendance at Jerusalem, and Yahushua and Peter, James, and John go up upon a mountaintop. This is the event known as "The Transfiguration" and it occurs in:

Matthew 17:1-13
Mark 9:2-13
Luke 9:28-36

During the Transfiguration, Peter makes a remark about building three tabernacles because the Feast of Tabernacles is coming up in five days, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.

This feast does require attendance at Jerusalem, and Yahushua heads there secretly, because he knows that the religious leaders want to kill him. However, once there among the crowds, he heals a blind man and teaches the people, John 7:14-52.

It's already halfway through the seventh month and heading towards winter. Yahushua sends out the seventy, and then goes to Jerusalem for the "Feast of Dedication" ("Hanukkah"), which begins on the 25th day of the ninth month. The religious leaders try to stone him, but Yahushua escapes.

The end of the year

So we have gone about two thirds of the way through the text of the four Gospels. The final one third of the Gospels focus mainly on the last week before Yahushua's death, often called "The Passion Week". Many well-known events and stories take place at this time, all during the space of a week. Some of which are:

The raising of Lazarus
The anointing by Mary Magdalene
The triumphal entry into Jerusalem
The second cleansing of the Temple
The question of paying tribute to Caesar
The lawyer and the greatest commandment
The widow's mite
And of course the events of Yahushua's death

So that's it. Four gospel accounts. Two Passovers. A one year ministry - "The Year of Favor of the LORD".


The Gospels, as documented by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, describe a public ministry of Yahushua ("Jesus") of about one year. It not is 3 ½ years with huge gaps in time where not one of the four writers (each of which had a different viewpoint) saw anything worth recording. As an observant Jew, and the Jewish Messiah, he observed the Torah.

Isn't a year is too short to do all the things in the Gospels?

As an example, consider that there are about 35 miracles reported in the four Gospel records. Note: Things like the healing of the Ten Lepers is counted as one miracle, because they were all healed at the same time.

Assuming a ministry of exactly one year, this is 365 / 35 = 10 days between miracles. In other words, one miracle every 10 days. If the ministry was 3½ years, then that would be one miracle every 36 days.

A similar exercise can be done with all the parables recorded in the 4 Gospels, of which there are 40. Assuming a ministry of exactly one year, this is 365 / 40 = 9 or one parable every 9 days. If the ministry was 3½ years, then that would be one parable every 32 days.

Critics of the one-year ministry say that a year is too short to do all the things in the Gospels. Let us compare:

"one year" is one miracle or parable every 9 or 10 days. Is that too rushed a schedule?

"three and one half years" is less than one miracle or parable per month. What was he doing the rest of the time?

You will also note that lots of things in the Gospels happened "on the road", and in rapid succession. For example, the events:

Blessing the Children
meeting the Rich Young Ruler
the healing of blind Bartimaeus
the encounter with Zacchaeus
all happened in a journey towards Jerusalem a few weeks before the final Passover.
What about the "Passover" in John 6:4?

There is one issue which we need to address, and concerns the timing of the Feeding of the Five Thousand as recorded in John's Gospel. Here's the problem: John 6:4 says "And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh (KJV)." But we said that John 5, the healing at the pool, was Pentecost. The next feast after Pentecost is Trumpets, and this agrees the rest of our chronology. There are multiple problems with Passover being in John 4. Briefly, from John's account, they are:

Yahushua provides leavened bread (not allowed at Passover) to feed the crowd, and even saves the fragments for later use. (John 6:13)

Yahushua is in Galilee, not Jerusalem attending the Passover as he should, and neither are the disciples and multitudes.

The chronology preceding John 6:4, and after it, indicate that the feast is Trumpets, not Passover.

This would indicate a wide gap. If you think that John 5:1 is also Passover, then it's even worse - there would be an entire year between the healing at the pool / rejection by the Sanhedrin (the only events in chapter 5) and the next chapter 6. Of course, you need those gaps to stretch one year into something close to 3 ½.

By reading the Synoptic Gospels, we find even more reasons to question John 6:4. In Matthew 15:1-20, and Mark 7:1-23, the Pharisees accuse Yahushua of him and his disciples (that is, the entire multitude who ate the loaves and fishes) of eating with "unwashed" (according to their tradition) hands, but say nothing about the more serious offenses:

Yahushua feeding the crowd with leavened bread at Passover.

Yahushua not attending the Passover, and encouraging others to do likewise.
The text for John 6:4 concerning the Passover does not exist in some manuscripts, and is not part of the original. Some of the early "church fathers", who had access to better manuscripts, refer to a one year ministry. (references in "Harmony of the Gospels", 1831, by Lant Carpenter and John Gorham Palfrey.)

Why can't there be a 3 ½ year ministry?

Since John says he didn't write everything (John 21:25), why can't there be a 3 ½ year ministry?

Because John has already defined the beginning and end points as Passovers. If you add "gaps", you can only put them in certain places, and adding Passovers will alter the length by "large chunks". There is no way to "fine tune" it to 3 ½ years and still follow the text.

Since you can't move the first and last Passovers, the only place you could possibly "fine tune" it is before the first Passover. But the problem with that approach is that time is well detailed by John chapter 1 and 2, and the length of the 40 day fast is detailed by the other three Gospels.


Anonymous said...

I love this! Makes Jesus more real to me than ever. I grew up in the church, my father was a pastor, and it always seemed that Jesus' time on earth had been much shorter than I'd learned and had always been taught. I heard a boatload of teaching that 3-1/2 years was the length of Jesus' ministry and hear it everywhere today. But no one ever presented their timeline in such a way as to prove why this was so. Just accept it, was the implication. (I suppose if I ever attended seminary I would have been presented with some sort of timeline in a dry-as-dust class, but I didn't and wasn't.) Thanks for the scholarship.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post.
Would you consider that His ministry was not exactly one year but actually 62 weeks starting from His baptism (Daniel 9:26)? or 70 weeks, which would include His work at Pentecost (Daniel 9:24)?

Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old...

Anonymous said...

The "Year of Favor" was between the two Passovers.
The "62 Weeks" was from the Baptism to the Passion Week.
The "70 Weeks / 490 Days" was between the Baptism by Water to Baptism by Fire.

The original website has more details:

JaredMithrandir said...

John's Gospel isn't chronological, The Cleansing happened only once.

John 2 is where Jesus says what the False Witnesses misquoted, and it's presented as something said recently, not at least a year earlier, or 2-3 years as popularly asserted.

It's a shock when he does it in the Synoptic, why be surprised if he'd done it before? Likewise it is presented as the last straw that lead to the Leadership wanting him dead as soon as possible (they did want to wait till after Passover but Jesus forced their hands).

No Church Fathers held a 3 year ministry view before Eusebius. And Augustine was an arch Heretic.

Also only 30 AD could be the year of the Crucifixion for many reasons. John 2's Cleansing incident dates itself to 30 AD.