Rethinking Jesus: Jesus wasn't married

by Kyle
published May 2, 2015


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In 2003, Dan Brown took the literary world by storm with a murder mystery that based much of its intrigue on the controversial and extraordinary claim Jesus was married. Dan Brown was able to make this claim because he didn’t take the canonical 66 books of the Bible seriously. Neither do Mormons, who also like to claim that Jesus was married (to two women, no less).

However, the New Testament shows Jesus not only wasn’t married, but couldn’t have been married and will be married someday. Moreover, the truth of Jesus’ marital status matters in the life of married people, single people and in our national debate regarding marriage.

Not a single word of the four accepted Gospels suggests that Jesus was married. We know Peter was married (Matthew 8:14). We know many of the other disciples were married (1 Corinthians 9:5). There is not a shred of textual evidence to believe that Jesus was married.

That is, except for the extra-biblical texts the church has been accused of so maliciously suppressing. But have you read the “other” Gospels that claim Jesus was married? Here’s an excerpt from the Gospel of Thomas: “Simon Peter said to them, ‘Make Mary leave us, for females don’t deserve life.’ Jesus said, ‘Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Does that seem like the same Jesus who talked to the woman at the well in Samaria? The same woman to whom he offered eternal life as a woman? Does that sound like a Jesus you want to follow? It’s certainly not the Jesus I know.

Besides all that, Jesus is still waiting on his bride. That he wasn’t married is not the same as that he won’t be married. Jesus’ betrothed is not ready to be married yet. His fiancée is the church. Jesus did not marry a woman because the whole body of the church is betrothed to him. Jesus didn’t take a physical wife because the church is his spiritual bride (see Revelation 19:6-8).

Finally, Jesus didn’t need to be married when he was on earth. And neither do you.

The basic lie people seem to believe on every side of the current debates over marriage is that people find their deepest, most meaningful and fulfillingrelationship in marriage. Marriage, it seems we all believe, is the only place people find unconditional intimacy, love and acceptance.

But anyone who is married can tell you that is patently false. Comedian Greg Giraldo famously mused that gay people should be allowed to marry because “they should have to suffer like everybody else.” Marriage is not fun. Marriage is not easy. Marriage is not capable of making me happy. People who enter marriages expecting to find unconditional intimacy, love and acceptance almost inevitably fail. The divorce rate among the general population and evangelical Christians is the same because both groups of people have the same expectation: “Marriage will make me happy.”

But it doesn’t.

If it were true that marriage can make you happy, then of course it would be unfair to deny that to anyone. But it doesn’t. Married people can be the loneliest people, and single people can lead the most fulfilled lives. Please believe that your quality of life does not depend on your marital status.

Also, please do not mistakeme. I lovemywife, and I am blessedto be married to her, but she is a sinner almost as bad as I am. A combination of two sinners like that means sometimes marriage will make you miserable. When people you love (and are supposed to love you back) fail you, it hurts. When you place the unbearable weight of your happiness on that person and they fail you, it’s miserable. It’s disastrous.

Do you know who can bear the weight of your happiness and life fulfillment? Do you know who can bear the even greater weight of your unconditional joy? I don’t want to sound trite, but God can. Jesus knew that. Jesus didn’t just live a celibate life because he knew his bride was still waiting, but because he knew where his joy came from — not in a wife, but inaFather. Not in a human, but in God.

Attheendoftheday, marriage is about the love you can give to another person, not the love you can get from them. And marriage doesn’t have the corner on the love and intimacy market by itself. God does, and God has provided myriad waysto love a world around you which is in desperate need.

If you are married, what are you doing to your spouse by forcing upon them the burden of making you happy? If you are single, what are you doing to yourself by believing that your only hope for intimacy and belonging and joy is found in a spouse? Singleness and marriage both become what God intends them to be when both are focused on following Christ rather than the individual believer trying to make themselves happy. Jesus wasn’t married during his earthly ministry because he didn’t need it to love or to be loved. And neither do you.

What do you think?

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