How Old Were the Twelve Disciples?

Here is a reproduction of Leonardo DaVinci’s “Last Supper.” Do you notice the old guys, with grey hair and grey beards? One is almost bald. Is this an indication of how old the Disciples that Jesus chose were? Maybe we should look at the Bible first.

In the Old Testament, the age of twenty years was when a young male was considered an adult. In the census taken in the first chapter of the Book of Numbers, young men twenty years of age and above were counted. (Numbers 1:3)

After the Children of Israel left Egypt and were at Mount Sinai, one of the instructions of the Lord was that all men, twenty years of age and above, were to pay a half shekel “atonement money.” This annual fee was to be used “for the service of the tabernacle.” (Exodus 30:11-16) In the time of the Lord Jesus, this was known as the Temple Tax.

In Capernaum, the Temple tax collectors asked Peter if Jesus paid the Temple Tax. Peter went to Jesus and Jesus instructed him to go fishing. Peter was to look in the mouth of the first fish he caught and there he would find a coin. Jesus told Peter to take the coin and pay the tax for Jesus and himself. (Matthew 17:24-27) Why didn’t Jesus provide for the tax for the others?

We know that Jesus would not say, “Let the others fend for themselves.” Jesus, who provided the money supernaturally, would have provided for all the disciples – had it been necessary.

It was not necessary. The Disciples that Jesus called were all under the age of twenty with the exception of Peter, who was an old married man. (Matthew 8:14-15) In effect the Disciples that Jesus chose were teenagers! By the end of the ministry of Jesus, the Disciples may have been old enough to be considered adults! The world was turned upside down by a group of men who may not have been old enough to buy beer in the United States today.

How much of what we think we know is tradition? How many of our practices in the Church are based on tradition? We must look to the Word of God, which is truth and not tradition.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – Colossians 2:8
Follow truth and not tradition. The Lord is Truth. Praise His name!

BACK to Lesson Archive.