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The common interpretation is that Jesus' ministry was 3 years. But this has never been proven, and the Scriptures do not mention it. Thus we still are not sure how long Jesus' ministry was, but why does it matter? What matters is that He was crucified for our sins, not how long His ministry was.
Various lengths have been suggested for the public ministry of Jesus, ranging from 1 to 3½ years. But the Scriptures give a closer span of time. In his gospel, John mentions three Passovers. They are as follows: Passover #1 – John 2:13 at the beginning of ministry Passover #2 – John 6:4 Passover #3 – John 11:55 at the crucifixion John carefully and clearly identifies each of them as Passovers, so there is no doubt that they are specifically Passovers. This also means that there are no other Passovers in John’s gospel. Some claim John 5:1 may be a Passover, but it is called “a feast of the Jews,” which most commentators assert is not the way the Passover would be referred to. Whatever this feast is, it is followed not too long after by the Passover of John 6:4, so, it cannot be a Passover. The best explanation for this holiday would be Purim because it was the only feast to fall on the Sabbath between AD 25 and AD 35. Also, it is observed 30 days before Passover which fits the chronology in these chapters. Attempts have been made to insert another Passover somewhere between John 4:54 and 11:55, especially between chapters 4 and 7. And some try to switch chapters 5 and 6 to fit one in. But there is no room for one. None can fit without seriously affecting the flow of the narrative. The phrases such as “after these things” used several times and other references such as “on the following day” tie the events closely together. Besides, John’s gospel strictly follows the chronology throughout. Between the second and third Passovers are two specifically mentioned feasts that fit the flow. John 7:2 states the nearness of the “Feast of Tabernacles” which is celebrated seven months after Passover. At this feast Jesus referred to a recent event, several months before. In John 7:23 He mentions the healing of the man on the Sabbath which could only refer to John 5:1-8. The next feast is the Feast of Dedication, found in John 10:22. Also known as Hanukkah, it commemorated the restoration and rededication of the temple after Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated it in 167 BC, and the miraculous 1-day oil supply lasting 8 days. It is celebrated in December, just a couple of months after the Feast of Tabernacles. Then, there is the Passover in John 11:55 which is the last in the book. It would be the one that would see the Lord becoming our Passover, I Corinthians 5:7. The Feasts mentioned in John 5-11: 1st Passover, John 2:23, April Purim as supposed, John 5:1, March 2nd Passover John 6:4, April Tabernacles, John 7:2, October Dedication/Hanukkah John10:22, December 3rd Passover John 11:55, April Because of this, the public ministry of Jesus could not be as short as one year, nor could it be as long as 3½ years. But the length, as some of the earliest Christian writers noted, is most likely about 2 to 2½ years.
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