The Big Three-O

The Gospel Sync | #21 | Luke 3:23-38

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Welcome Back! Today, we’ll be looking at the Gospel of Luke and asking the question; “What is the significance of turning thirty.”

So let’s dive in.

(Click here to get a copy of the Gospel Sync document) 

The Gospel – Luke 3:23-38

Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His ministry. He was regarded as the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Some Thoughts 

Full disclosure: I’ve rounded the corner of the “Big Three-O” twice now, so don’t feel the need to wish me a happy birthday. But it’s interesting that Jesus started His ministry at the age of 30. In the Old Testament, there are several references to people starting their ministries at the age of 30 as well. The Levites and priests were instructed by God to begin their service in the tabernacle at 30 (Numbers 4:3, 23). Joseph was thirty years old when he became the second-in-command to Pharaoh in Egypt (Genesis 41:46). Similarly, David was thirty years old when he began to reign as king over Israel (2 Samuel 5:4). Now at the beginning of the New Testament, Jesus begins his public ministry at the age of thirty (Luke 3:23).

Coincidence? I don’t think so. There are significant life events and transitions that happen at the age of thirty. Not for everyone, mind you, but I would say it’s normal to see major changes happening in people’s lives when they hit the “Big Three O.” We would consider an 18-year-old an adult but not a “mature adult” (with the exception of all 18-year-olds reading this right now. Of course, you’ve beaten the odds). By the time you’re 30, you probably have a steady job, gotten married, had some kids, and learned that the universe doesn’t revolve around you (well, most 30-year-olds). You’ve also made some great decisions and some not-so-good ones. You’ve had good leaders you’d like to emulate and some not so much. And maybe you’ve even been the kind of leader people like to emulate and not so much. You’ve lived a good bit of life and learned from many (and I mean many) successes and failures.

The significance of age in different areas of life, such as work, relationships, and personal development, has been a subject of study for sociologists. Through their research, they have observed that substantial changes tend to occur by the time an individual reaches the age of thirty, thanks to the maturity that comes with age. I’m not saying this is every 30 year old’s experience but these seem to be the general trends. People can develop at different rates and may experience significant life events at different ages.

Here’s some interesting facts about famous people when they turned thirty;

Ernest Hemingway: Hemingway published his first novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” which went on to become a classic of modern literature.

Neil Armstrong: Armstrong was selected to join the NASA Astronaut Corps, which eventually led to him becoming the first person to walk on the moon.

Serena Williams: Williams won her fourth Wimbledon singles title and became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in more than 25 years.

Steve Jobs: Jobs co-founded Apple Inc. with Steve Wozniak and helped to revolutionize the computer industry.

Napoleon Bonaparte: Napoleon was appointed commander-in-chief of the French Army in Italy, where he won several key battles and established himself as a military genius.

Katherine Johnson: Johnson, who turned 30 in 1958, was an African-American mathematician who worked for NASA and played a critical role in the success of the first manned spaceflights.

Albert Einstein: Einstein published his theory of special relativity, which revolutionized our understanding of time, space, and the nature of the universe.

Martin Luther King Jr.: King became the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement and helped to bring attention to issues of racial injustice in America.

Rosalind Franklin: Franklin, who turned 30 in 1950, was a British biophysicist who played a critical role in the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Julius Caesar: Caesar was appointed governor of the province of Spain and began to establish himself as a powerful political figure in Rome.

Marie Curie: Curie completed her doctoral thesis on the properties of radioactive materials, which laid the foundation for her groundbreaking work in the field of radioactivity.

And how does turning 30 have anything to do with discipleship? Have you ever noticed how ambitious a 20-year-old can be when they find the Lord and want to turn the world upside down for Jesus (today!)? Uh, yeah, I was one of those. As disciple-makers, we often work with younger folks who are all spark but little flame. We have to remind them that things take time. I like to remind them that intelligence does not equal wisdom. Intelligence + Time + Experience + the fear of God = Wisdom. There’s a process that Jesus went through, and there’s a process of maturity that we need to go through as well. I have found that God is just as interested in the process as the product, in our character as our ministry. Sure, there have been some young people who have set the world on fire, but most of us need to get our reps in.

My Story

I had been in the Army for thirteen years, married my beautiful bride Deb, and had two sons. I was probably a little overconfident, but reality had slapped me in the face enough times to know not to be too cocky. Then, in 1989, I turned 30, and out of the blue, I received a calling from God to be an Army Chaplain. What did that mean? Firstly, I didn’t like chaplains, so being one wasn’t all that appealing. Secondly, I was leaving a well-paying career from which I could retire in only seven years. And thirdly, I would have to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree, with my only previous academic success being completing a GED to stay in the Army. But it was the call of God and a chance to practice radical faith. So, with a loyal wife, a two-year-old, and a two-month-old, and everyone else wondering if we were crazy, we took the leap. We got out of the Army and started school on academic probation. It all happened at 30.  Six years later, I was appointed an Army Chaplain, served for ten amazing years, and retired with a full pension. The experience not only set us up for greater effectiveness in ministry but also drew us into deeper waters with Jesus. Turning the “Big Three O” was a pretty significant year for me.

Our Action Plan

“As we consider the significance of turning 30, we can apply this realization in several ways:

  • Firstly, we should remember that this is a general trend and not a hard-and-fast rule. It is important not to discourage or criticize younger individuals who have not yet reached this milestone.
  • For those of us who have yet to turn 30, knowing this concept can alleviate some pressure as we manage our expectations and set goals for personal growth.
  • As seasoned individuals, we can guide and mentor younger individuals, reminding them that the Christian journey is a marathon, not a sprint.

By recognizing the importance of the “Big Three O,” we can be more effective in our role as disciple-makers. We can help others prepare for this significant transition, manage their expectations, and ultimately increase their effectiveness in ministry.

Until next time, let’s keep making disciples for Jesus!”

Author: Chuck & Deb

Chuck & Deb love Jesus!

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