Was Jesus Married?

The creep of The Da Vinci Code.


In all the criticism that I have hurled at the ill-informed Christians, it occurs to me that I have never mentioned Jesus' marital status. To be honest, I had never much thought about it until I read The Da Vinci Code. Thanks to the influence of the church, I had pretty much accepted the fact that he was a bachelor. I've changed my mind.

Now, the idea that Jesus was not married seems downright absurd.

If we notice nothing else when we read the gospels, we cannot help but pick up on the fact that Jesus was somewhat hounded by his detractors. They were forever more trying to catch him at something, to trip him up. I had always been impressed by the utterly clever way he handled them. But there was one particular issue they never questioned him about, and that was his marital status. I strongly suspect that, as a Jewish male (not to mention a thirty-year-old Jewish male), he would have been more or less expected to be married, even have children. If Jesus - two-thousand years ago - was walking around Galilee with a bunch of (male) disciples and no wife, do we honestly believe that no one would have approached him about it? It seems most likely that a man of his standing, with his rather public profile, would have been utterly vilified over it. They would have raked him over the proverbial coals.

At the time, there was no expectation of a divine messiah; a messiah, to be sure, but not a divine one. There was, in fact, no such idea milling about. Messiahs were simply "anointed" human beings who were in line to be king. The idea of Jesus' divinity did not develop till after his death (an idea propagated, by the way, entirely by the church). While he was yet walking around in the flesh no one thought he was a god. Consequently, no one expected him to act like one. On the contrary, they would have expected him to act like a man - and have a wife!

On one occasion, Jesus even quoted the Old Testament about the perfect naturalness of being married:

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
(Matthew 19:3-5)

I find it inconceivable that he would say something like this to the Pharisees (who were testing him, remember) and not have a wife himself.

And speaking of the Pharisees, I cannot help but feel that the way they postured with Jesus is a telling thing. It is easy to see that they did not for a moment act as if they thought that Jesus was presenting himself as anything but a (purely human) candidate, if you will, for a public office. Their behavior takes on the character of our present-day journalists during an election. They were more or less interviewing him, and trying to catch him at something, some faux pas, something worthy of reporting, and of course disparaging. And being thirty-years old and unmarried would have been something they would have jumped at without any hesitation.