Ministry of Jesus Christ on earth was only one year

It is traditionally taught that the ministry of Jesus on this world is 3 to 3.5 years. However, after careful consideration of all events described in the gospel and the prophecy about Jesus ministry on earth, we can comfortably conclude that His ministry on earth was just 1 year.
Passover is only mentioned once in all gospels (in the below chapters) except the gospel of John.
  • Matthew 26
  • Mark 14
  • Luke 22

In all the above 3 gospels, the only Passover mentioned during His ministry is the Passover He kept just before His crucifixion.
However, in the gospel of John, it is mentioned thrice.
  1. (John 2:13-14, 23) Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. … Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.
  2. John 6:4-5 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 
  3. John 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 – this is the last Passover before His crucifixion which is also mentioned in the other gospels.

Identifying the Passover in John 2:13-14

The event mentioned just before the Passover in John 2:13-14 is also mentioned in the other gospels before the only Passover mentioned.
  • Matt 21:12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
  • Mark 11:15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
  • Luke 19:45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it,
Hence, the Passover mentioned in John 2:13-14 is same Passover mentioned in other gospels. However, John mentions this in the beginning indicating that the gospel of John is not chronological.

Identifying the Passover in John 6

The event mentioned just before the Passover in John 6, that is feeding the 5000 is also mentioned in the other gospels in the following chapter/verses.
  • Matt 14:17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
  • Mark 6:38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”
  • Luke 9:13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.”
This seems that there is another Passover. However, after looking carefully in gospel of John, the very next chapter (which is 7), speaks of the feast of Tabernacle.
  • John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 
  • John 7:1-2 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

The date difference between the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles is roughly 6 months. There is also a feast mentioned in chapter 5 (which may or may not refer to the same Passover feast). As we saw earlier, the gospel of John is not strictly in chronological order and this Passover could very well be the final Passover mentioned in other gospels.

Hence, there is no significant evidence from the gospels to prove that Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth was 3.5 years.

Luke 4:17-21 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Further, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, it is the acceptable year of the Lord not “acceptable years”. The non chronological order of events in John must not mislead in counting the number of years of Christ’s ministry on earth. Hence, Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth was only one year as prophesied by Isaiah.