Why Whether Jesus Was Ever Married Matters

June 9, 2014

Recently, some have claimed that they have found an ancient document that says that Jesus had a wife.[1] Does it make any difference whether Jesus was ever married?

Answering this question properly requires the careful consideration of at least five lines of reasoning based on Scripture. The following treatment of those lines of reasoning provides evidence that sufficiently shows what the right answer to this question is.

No Scriptural Mention of Jesus Being Married

Scripture abounds with statements that God’s providing a man with a godly wife is an exceedingly great divine blessing (Prov. 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-11; 30). Had God the Father provided Jesus with such a priceless blessing, He surely would have made it known to us in Scripture that He did so.

Scripture has no statements, however, that speak of Jesus ever marrying anyone. For those who believe fully in the authority of Scripture, this evidence alone should be enough to convince them that Jesus was never married.

Committing His Mother to John

Shortly before He died, Jesus committed His mother Mary to the care of the apostle John:

Joh 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

If Jesus had a wife, why would He have committed His mother to the care of John when His wife would have been living? In fact, Mary Magdalene, whom some have suggested was Jesus’ wife, was present when Jesus did this (John 19:25).

As Ruth cared for Naomi of old, so any woman who would have been married to Jesus certainly would have played a leading role in caring for her mother-in-law after His death. We have no evidence in Scripture, however, that Mary Magdalene or any other woman who was supposedly married to Jesus played a major role in caring for Mary after Jesus had died.

We should conclude that Jesus did not have a wife.

Failure to Provide for His Own

Before His death, Jesus made provision for the care of His mother (John 19:26-27). Scripturally, however, had He been married, His first obligation would have been to provide for His wife (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8).

Scripture provides no indication that Jesus took any steps that would be consistent with caring for a wife who would soon have been a widow. We can be confident, therefore, that He was not married to anyone when He died.

Expecting Greater Commitment from Some of His Disciples Than He Himself Had

Jesus taught that some of His disciples would not marry for the sake of the kingdom (Matt. 19:11). Yet, if He were married, He himself would have not have set Himself apart for the sake of the kingdom to the extent that He taught that these disciples have done.

It is unthinkable that any other human will ever have committed himself to divine service more than Jesus did. For Jesus ever to have been married would be utterly inconsistent with biblical teaching about His unsurpassed setting Himself apart to God.

An Earthly Bride and a Spiritual Bride

Had Jesus been married to anyone prior to His death and resurrection, He would have had an earthly bride. Scripture, however, does not say anything about Him ever being married to an earthly bride.

Furthermore, Scripture speaks explicitly of the Lamb having a spiritual bride (Eph. 5:22-28; Rev. 19:7-9); if He were also to have been married to an earthly bride, He would then have had at least two brides—one earthly and one spiritual. Because no passage in Scripture even remotely suggests that Jesus will have two brides, we can be confident that He was not ever married to Mary Magdalene or any other woman while He lived on the earth.

Conclusion

Based on the five lines of reasoning from Scripture treated above, we have ample biblical basis to reject alleged evidence from some purportedly legitimate extrabiblical source that says that Jesus had a wife. Jesus was never married while He lived on the earth prior to His crucifixion.

 

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Jesus’_Wife for information about this claim.

Rajesh

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