Voices of Faith: Why do Christians get so excited over whether Jesus had a wife?

02/16/2013 10:20 AM

02/16/2013 5:54 PM

Scriptures are taken seriously

The Rev. Pat Rush, Visitation Church of Kansas City, Mo.: Because there is so much about Jesus’ personal life that is untold by the gospels, we refer to this as his “hidden life.” Since the earliest times, people have tried to imagine details about that period. Early examples are found in the apocryphal gospels, works that did not make it into the Christian New Testament canon.

A first reason for Christians’ concern about theories of Jesus being married is that the New Testament Scriptures provide us with absolutely no evidence of a wife, and we take our Scripture very seriously and want to always defend against adulteration.

Similarly, from the Catholic perspective, a second reason is the seriousness with which we take the teaching tradition of our church. Catholics hold as a second source for our faith our church’s consistent teachings through the centuries, consistent teachings beyond Scripture but founded on Scripture and guided by the Holy Spirit. Our church tradition includes no teaching that Jesus was married.

A third reason is Jesus’ own teaching in Matthew 19:10-12 on the value of celibacy for witnessing to the Kingdom of God. Celibacy witnesses to the Kingdom of God’s love and justice for all people, not just for a few or for a particular individual. As such, Christians have consistently considered celibacy a most appropriate state of life for God’s son.

Teachings are more important

The Rev. Duke Tufty, Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City: If Jesus had a wife, then what? What if they had children? What if there are people of Jesus’ bloodline alive today? What if they came forward and claimed the assets of the church? What if people thought that since Jesus wasn’t celibate, then priests shouldn’t have to be celibate? What if people began to think that Jesus, by being married, was human and not divine? What if? The mind goes into a frenzy.

But when we take a deep breath, calm down and think deeply about what it would mean if Jesus were married, the truth slowly rises like the morning sun. We realize that it wouldn’t make any difference at all. Jesus’ height, weight, physical appearance, marital status and even lineage are simple historical facts that have little importance.

What he said; the revelations he pronounced; his inspiring message of hope, peace, love and joy; his direction for living a good life and being a beneficial presence in the world is what matters. If Jesus were married, good for him. I am happy for him. If Jesus were not married, good for him. I am happy for him. Either way, I give heartfelt gratitude for his words of wisdom.

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