Was Jesus married?

No, Jesus was not married. That fact has not stopped various groups from claiming otherwise. The first religious group that we know of to insist Jesus was married was the Cathars. The Cathars were a Gnostic-inspired cult founded in Western Europe in the twelfth century. They believed that waging war, eating meat, taking communion, and, ironically, having sex were evil. They also believed that sin after baptism would permanently nullify salvation—many Cathars were baptized only on their deathbeds when the chance of a subsequent sin was lessened. These ideas are all reasonable derivations of Gnosticism, which teaches that only the spirit is good and all physical things are evil.

The Cathars believed Mary Magdalene was either the wife or concubine of Jesus. The Cathars believed Jesus was sinless, but they also believed sex was sin. They explained this puzzle by teaching Jesus must have had two natures—an evil physical nature and a pure spiritual nature. The entire claim, of course, is completely unbiblical. Jesus is fully God and fully man (John 1:14).

The Gnostic book The Gospel of Philip, written in the third century, describes Mary Magdelene as Jesus' "close friend" and mentions several kisses between the two. Considering the apocryphal nature of the book and the fact that kissing was a traditional Christian greeting, this tells us exactly nothing.

Some of the most recent claims of Jesus' marriage are found in The DaVinci Code, a novel written in 2003 and made into a movie in 2006. Just as the movie Thor takes old mythology, twists it around, and spins an entertaining story, so author Dan Brown took speculations from Gnostic and other unscriptural sources and gave Jesus an alternate history. Unfortunately, many people today are more likely to learn theology from movies than they are from the Bible.

Marriage is biblical, so Jesus could have married without sinning. But the fact is He did not marry. The Bible is marked by a conspicuous absence of any hint that Jesus was married. His mother, step-father, half-brothers, and half-sisters are mentioned, but no wife. There was no wife on the occasions He returned home, no wife when He traveled throughout Israel, and no wife when He was crucified.

The belief that Jesus was married is a Gnostic teaching. Gnostics believe that the physical is evil and the spiritual is good. This false idea leads to a great deal of misinformation about the nature of Jesus—mainly that He isn't God. Some of the Gnostic claims concerning Jesus' marital status are farfetched to the point of absurdity. However, the effect those claims have on the credulous is quite serious. Many people are confused about who Jesus is. The truth is something only God can reveal (John 14:17).


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