The Commencement of Christ's Ministry and of John's Ministry

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Fifteenth year of Tiberius Canar, A.D. 26 or A.D. 28.
Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, A.D. 26 to 36.
Herod [Antipas] tetrarch of Galilee. B.C. 4 to A.D. 39.
Philip, tetrarch of Ituraea and Triconitis, B.C. 4 to A.D. 33.
Lysanias, tetrarch of Abilene (unknown).
Annas, high priest about A.D. 7 to A.D. 14.
Caiaphas, high priest, about A.D. 17 to A.D. 37.
It is supposed that in this passage, as in others, that Annas was president of the Sanhedrim, and still retained a great deal of power, as Caiaphas was his son-in-law. It is probable that in their then disordered state Caiaphas was nominally high priest, but Annas was the one who really exercised the power. The principal editors agree in reading it, “Annas and Caiaphas being the high priest” (not high priests).
The fifteenth of Tiberius is a disputed point, because he was associated with his predecessor, Augustus, two or three years; and the question is, was this the fifteenth year of his joint reign, or of his sole reign? He reigned alone A.D. 14 to 37, thus his fifteenth year would be 28. Or if we reckon from his joint reign it would be about 26.
We must see if any other passages will help us to determine the question.
Mark 1:99And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. (Mark 1:9), says, after a few verses of introduction as to John’s ministry, “And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.” Not very definite, it is true; but it would seem to intimate that our Lord’s baptism was soon after John began his ministry.
Again, in Matthew, John is first spoken of in these words, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea.... Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.... Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him” (Matt. 3:1-131In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. 13Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. (Matthew 3:1‑13)). This again speaks of the baptism of Christ as if following soon after the commencement of John’s ministry.
We have concluded that our Lord was born B.C. 5, and in B.C. 28 He would be thirty-two years of age, but this will not agree with “He began to be about thirty years of age.” But B.C. 26 is the date that agrees with this expression.
Another coincidence appears in the early chapters of John’s gospel in the following links:
John 2:1313And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, (John 2:13), “and the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.”
At this passover the Jews say, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” (John 2:2020Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? (John 2:20).) That is, up to that time the temple with its outer courts had been all those years in building, and, according to Josephus (Ant. xx. 9. 7), it was not completed till some years after that. Now if we can ascertain when this rebuilding was commenced we may get a date for the first passover, and also see if this agrees with the date we have fixed on for the baptism of Christ.
Now Josephus declares (Ant. 15. 11. 1) that Herod began to rebuild the temple in the eighteenth year of his reign. It is thought, however, that he contradicts this, for he also speaks of the temple being begun in the fifteenth year of Herod’s reign. But this latter (Wars, i. 21. 1) speaks more of repairing the temple, and may have referred to the outer courts, and so forth, or some repairs to the temple that were necessary, before he had fully determined to rebuild the edifice. It was evidently in his eighteenth year that he began to rebuild the temple as above stated, because it is linked on with events that had happened in his seventeenth year.
Herod was declared king B.C. 40, but did not begin to reign till B.C. 37; so that his eighteenth year would be B.C. 20, and forty-six years would bring it to A.D. 26: the same date we have already fixed on as most probable when our Lord was baptized, and when He began His ministry; and John would have begun his ministry a few months earlier — both commencing when about thirty years old, and which corresponds with the age when the Levites began their service in the tabernacle (Num. 4:33From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. (Numbers 4:3)).
Herod the Great
__________________________ l_________________________________
l l l l l
Doris Mariamne Maiamne Malthace Cleopatra
l granddr.of dr. of Simon a Samaritan l
l Hyrcanus l __l_________ l
l l 2 l 3 l l 5 l
Antipater Aristobulus Philip I. Herod Antipas l Philip II
m. Bernice m. Herodias m. dr. of Aretas 1 m. Salome
l l m. Herodias l
l Salome 4 l
l Archelaus
____ _l_______________________________________
6 l 7 l l
Herod Agrippa I Herodia, Herod, King of Chalcis
m. Cypros. m. Herod Philip I m. Mariamne
1 m. Herod Antipas. dr. of Olympias
1 m. Berenice
8 l 9l 10 l
Agrippa II Bernice Drusilla
m. Herod k. of Chalcis m. Axis, Kng of Emesa
m. Polemo, k. of Cilicia m. Felix
1. Matt. 2:1-221Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 16Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 19But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. 21And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: (Matthew 2:1‑22); Luke 1:55There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. (Luke 1:5).
6. Acts 12:1-211Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 2And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 4And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. 5Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. 6And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. 7And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 8And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 9And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. 10When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. 11And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. 12And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. 13And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 15And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. 16But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. 17But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go show these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place. 18Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. 19And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and there abode. 20And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country. 21And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. (Acts 12:1‑21).
8. Acts 25:13; 26:1-3213And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. (Acts 25:13)
1Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: 2I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: 3Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. 4My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 6And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 8Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? 9I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. 11And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. 12Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 14And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 15And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. 19Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 21For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. 22Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: 23That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. 24And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. 25But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. 26For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. 27King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 28Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. 30And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: 31And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. 32Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar. (Acts 26:1‑32)