In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the question of whether or not Jesus was married. A Gnostic fragment quotes Jesus as saying “my wife.” And Dan Brown’s international bestseller, The Da Vince Code, alleges that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that the church purposely hid this information when it decided on what gospels should be in the New Testament. But Brown’s book is so full of historical errors its ridiculous. He is either a sorry researcher or deceptive, and I think it’s the latter.
And now, Emmy award-winning film maker and bestselling author Simcha Jacobivici, with Professor Barrie Wilson, has authored The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary Magdalene (November, 2014) that probably will become a movie. This idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene is gaining ground. (See HuffPost’s “Jesus’ Marriage to Mary Magdalene is Fact, Not Fiction,” posted on November 26, 2014.)
Was Jesus married–no way Hosea, that is, if you believe the Bible. For it never says Jesus was married, even the several times it mentions Mary Magdalene. These proponents of Jesus being married to Miriam of Magdala argue that there isn’t anything in the New Testament gospels that says Jesus wasn’t married. Well, there isn’t anything in them that says he was married, either. I think the burden of proof falls on the opposing side on this issue. Why? It is far more likely that if Jesus was married the NT gospels would say so rather than them being silent on the issue.
Read patheos.com blogger and pastor Mark Roberts’ excellent post on this entitled “Was Jesus Married? A Careful Look at the Evidence.” My only contention with Mark about this is that he mentions that some of the advocates of a married Jesus claim the church denies this to bolster its belief that Jesus is God, and Mark opposes this by saying Jesus is indeed both man and God, to which I do not subscribe.
Then Mark Roberts raises an interesting, hypothetical question that I don’t remember hearing discussed during my education about the hypostatic union. It is this: If Jesus had been married and had children, would they have been only human, only divine, or both? Isn’t it bazaar the questions that can arise when we get off track from what the Bible says. For it never says straightout that Jesus was God nor does Jesus say this about himself in his New Testament gospel sayings. If Jesus was God, it seems far more important that the apostles in Acts and the NT in general would declare this axiom more than its constant proclamation that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel.
So, Jesus was celibate. He seems to have chosen this lifestyle in order to maximize his mission God gave him to travel about as an itinerate preacher, spreading the message of the promised kingdom of God. But even more so, Jesus foreknew that the primary feature of his divinely-ordained mission was to die an early death on a Roman cross for our sins. This was the greatest mission the world has ever seen, and being married and having children seems incompatible with it.
Moreover, the church has never sufficiently acknowledged Jesus’ free will choice he made to undertake his sacrificial mission God gave him of going to the cross. In fact, the church sometimes has distorted it. A key biblical text where this has been done is 2 Corinthians 8.9. The Apostle Paul writes therein, “For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (NRSV and throughout). My pastor decades ago would always begin his Bible teaching sessions by quoting this text as if it indicated the Incarnation.
But when God’s people give up something that is their right to have and to enjoy in life, and they do it for the glory of God and his kingdom, God will surely bless them beyond all that they can imagine. And that is how it will be for Jesus in the future. He will have a wife, and she will be far more than anyone could have ever imagined her to be if they had not been told about it.
But we have been told, mostly in the last book in the Bible. For John says in Revelation about a vision he had, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb [Jesus].’ And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21.1-2, 9-10).
Then John describes the magnificant city the angel shows him, a city that is the bride of Christ. How this city is related to earth, we are not told. Many assume it will come down and become part of the earth, but I doubt it. We read, “The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he [the angel] measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal” (v. 16). Most scholars interpret this as the city being cube-shaped with each side being fifteen hundred miles in length. [I have blogged about this before.]
On the contrary, that will not fit earthly Jerusalem. Besides, ancients measured cities by circumference. Accordingly, this squared-shaped city will be 375 miles on each side and 375 miles high. And rather than being cube-shaped, I think it will be the “great, high mountain” mentioned in v. 10, so that that “mountain” is “the holy city Jerusalem.” And I think it will hover just above the Promised Land of Israel, which will be that approximate size (e.g., from the Euphrates River to “the river of Egypt,” which is the Wadi el Arish), and that the two will be connected by Jacob’s Ladder that symbolized Jesus himself (Genesis 28.10-17).
This city, the bride of Christ, will also be “the house of God” that Jacob dreamed about, and the ladder/ramp will symbolize Jesus as “the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28.17). In that city, “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22.3-4). So, “God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eys. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more” (21.3-4). This is the bride Jesus gave up wife, family, and life itself to get.