Three years of ministry, or only one?

I’m fascinated by the debate over the length of Jesus’ ministry on earth, based on the scant evidence in the gospels. John cites three Passovers, but Mark, Matthew, and John only one. Most scholars today, says Joseph F. Kelly (An Introduction to the New Testament for Catholics, p. 84), believe the public ministry lasted one year or maybe two, “given the time he would have needed to travel so much on foot.”

Surely it was more than a year. Consider the time it would take to develop such a strong following, not just throughout Galilee but into Judea. And the time it would take to select 12 apostles, train them, send them out to preach—the Great Commissioning– and welcome them back.

And remember, Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, professed her belief that he was the son of God. That couldn’t have happened without several encounters during his public ministry.


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