Many people wonder how long Jesus was with his disciples before he was crucified. The answer to this question is not straightforward, as it depends on how you define “with” and “disciples”. However, we can look at the accounts in the Bible to get a better understanding.
Who Were the Disciples?
Before we dive into the timeline of Jesus’ ministry, let’s clarify who the disciples were. According to the Bible, Jesus had twelve main disciples: Simon Peter, Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), John (brother of James), Philip, Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael), Thomas, Matthew (also known as Levi), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus (also known as Judas son of James), Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.
Jesus began his public ministry when he was around thirty years old. He traveled throughout Galilee and Judea, preaching and performing miracles. During this time, he called his disciples to follow him and learn from him.
According to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus began his ministry by calling Simon Peter and Andrew while they were fishing. He then called James and John while they were repairing their fishing nets. The other disciples were likely called at various times throughout Jesus’ ministry.
The Length of Jesus’ Ministry
The exact length of Jesus’ public ministry is not clear from the accounts in the Bible. However, it is estimated to have lasted between one and three years.
One way we can estimate this is by looking at how many Passovers are mentioned in the Gospels during Jesus’ ministry. Passover was a major Jewish festival that took place once a year. In John 2:13, it says that Jesus went up to Jerusalem for Passover early in his ministry.
In John 6:4, it mentions another Passover that Jesus celebrated with his disciples. Finally, in John 11:55, it says that another Passover was approaching shortly before Jesus’ crucifixion. This suggests that Jesus’ public ministry lasted at least two years.
Time Spent With the Disciples
Another way to approach this question is to ask how much time Jesus spent specifically with his disciples. The Gospels describe many instances where Jesus and his disciples traveled together, ate together, and shared experiences.
However, it’s important to note that not all of the disciples were present for every event. For example, in Matthew 17:1, it says that Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a high mountain where he was transfigured before them. This suggests that not all of the disciples were present for this event.
It’s also worth noting that some of the events described in the Gospels may have taken place over a period of days or weeks rather than just one day. For example, in John 6:1-14, it describes how Jesus fed a crowd of five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. The account suggests that this took place over the course of one day but does not provide an exact timeline.
The Last Supper
One important event to consider when discussing how long Jesus was with his disciples is the Last Supper. This was the final meal that Jesus shared with his twelve main disciples before his crucifixion.
According to the Gospel accounts, the Last Supper took place on the evening of Passover, which would have been around three years after Jesus began his public ministry. During this meal, Jesus predicted that one of his disciples would betray him and instituted the practice of communion.
In conclusion, there is no clear answer to how long Jesus was with his disciples before he was crucified. Depending on how you define “with” and “disciples”, the timeline could vary.
However, we can estimate that Jesus’ public ministry lasted between one and three years and that he spent a significant amount of time with his disciples during this period. The Last Supper, which took place around three years after Jesus began his ministry, was a significant event in the disciples’ time with Jesus.