John 8:57

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The Jews therefore said unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? (ASV)


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The implication from this verse is that Jesus was close to fifty at the time. Compare to:

Luke 3:23

And Jesus himself, when he began [to teach], was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the [son] of Heli,

There is no evidence in "Luke" that Jesus' Ministry lasted more than one year so "Luke's" Jesus still would have been about thirty when he died.

Here are the main points supporting that "John" intended his Jesus to be either close to or over fifty when he died:

1) John 8:57 implies that Jesus was close to fifty.

2) Irenaues claimed, primarily based on "John", that Jesus was an old man when he died.

3) There is some textual variation for "forty" instead of "fifty" indicating the Church realized that "fifty" was a contradiction with "Luke".

4) John omits evidence from the Synoptics that would support Jesus being fiftyish in Pilate's time:

"Luke's" statement that Jesus was about thirty at the start of the Ministry.
The infancy narratives which have Jesus born thirty something years before Pilate.
In 7:5 "John" omits the mention of Jesus' sisters being included in Jesus' family going to look for Jesus. The implication is that they were grown and had their own families.

5) "John's" Jesus has three Passovers compared to one for the Synoptics.

6) John 2 might be a subtle reference to Jesus being forty-six.

The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?
But he spake of the temple of his body.
When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

7) In Chapter 6 "John" refers to Jesus' father. In Chapter 7 "John" has Jesus' brothers go to Jerusalem but not Jesus' father. The implication is that Jesus' father is too old to travel.

8) John 21:25 claims that Jesus did a huge amount of deeds which would support a long career,

--JoeWallack 11:18, 24 January 2009 (EST)


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