Was Jesus Married?
If marriage here on Earth is so important, why Jesus Christ was not married?
Why do you believe that Jesus was never married? The Bible does not teach that the Lord was never married, but simply makes no explicit mention of the subject. There are two possible reasons for this deficiency:
(1) The scriptures are not meant to convey all truth, but only those select things that are necessary for our salvation. For example, the Bible teaches the following:
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:30-1)
Whether Jesus was married or not has nothing to do with our personal salvation and therefore is not authoritatively covered in the text.
(2) It is clear to Latter-day Saints that the Bible is missing many important truths which were removed during the beginnings of the apostasy. The Prophet Joseph Smith noted:
"I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843–44, p.327)
These truths were removed in an attempt to make the text match the theology, instead of letting the text define the theology. In other words, since the idea of Jesus being married was so repugnant to some people, especially those indoctrinated by the immaterialism of Greek philosophy, they eliminated any clear references in the scriptures indicating that Jesus was married. (See The Holy Bible home page)
Some Christians of other denominations believe that marriage, sexuality, and even the physical body itself are unholy and undesirable. For them, their anticipated afterlife is a sexless condition where such gross materialism will be eliminated. Latter-day Saints declare that marriage, sexuality, and the physical body are all required that we might enjoy a "fullness of joy" in eternity. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:
"For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy" (D&C 93:33)
While some people may find the idea of Jesus enjoying all the benefits of a physical body undesirable, Latter-day Saints declare: "Jesus was no recluse, no hermit, no ascetic. He came eating and drinking, enjoying the natural, normal, and wholesome social intercourse of the day." (McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol.1, p.136)
Several leaders of the Church have affirmatively taught that Jesus was married during mortality. For example, Elder Orson Hyde gave it as his belief that the marriage in Cana was in fact Jesus' marriage:
"It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction, it will be discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.4, p.259)
While Elder Bruce R. McConkie did not draw such an explicit conclusion, he did note that:
"Mary seemed to be the hostess at the marriage party, the one in charge, the one responsible for the entertainment of the guests. It was she who recognized the need for more wine, who sought to replenish the supply, who directed the servants to follow whatever instructions Jesus gave. Considering the customs of the day, it is a virtual certainty that one of Mary's children was being married.....Jesus also had a close personal interest in and connection with the marriage and the subsequent festivities which attended it. He and apparently at least five of his disciples (John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathaneal) were "called" to attend. Since the short age of wine occurred near the close of the festivities, and since these commonly lasted from seven to fourteen days, it is apparent that Jesus' party was remaining for the entire celebration. Seemingly, also, he had some personal responsibility for entertaining the guests and felt an obligation to supply them with added refreshments." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol.1, p.135)
However, the implicit evidence regarding the marital state of Jesus is far greater than the explicit evidence. Scholar Sidney B. Sperry noted:
"[W]e know that it was the custom among the Jews for their young men to marry at an early age, generally between the years of sixteen and eighteen. And secondly, it is well known that the Jews considered marriage to be a religious obligation." (Paul's Life and Letters, p.9)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie also noted:
"Men married at sixteen or seventeen years of age, almost never later than twenty: and women at a somewhat younger age, often when not older than fourteen. (The Mortal Messiah, Vol.1, p.223)
The Bible teaches that the enemies of Christ spent their time:
"Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him" (Luke 11:54).
It is almost universally agreed among all scholars and denominations that Jesus Christ did not begin his ministry until his early 30's. If Christ were unmarried at this age, then his enemies could have proven that he did not obey the laws and customs of his day. What were the laws and customs regarding marriage among the Jews at the time of Jesus? The oral tradition of Biblical Israel is now recorded in the Talmud. According to Jewish sources:
"Marriage is vitally important in Judaism. Refraining from marriage is not considered holy, as it is in some other religions. On the contrary, it is considered unnatural. The Talmud says that an unmarried man is constantly thinking of sin. The Talmud tells of a rabbi who was introduced to a young unmarried rabbi. The older rabbi told the younger one not to come into his presence again until he was married........The Talmud recommends that a man marry at age 18, or somewhere between 16 and 24." (Judaism 101, http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm)
As noted above, the Jewish Elders looked for every opportunity of accusing Jesus of breaking tradition or committing sin. If Jesus were unmarried, would they not have simply been able to say:
"Jesus, you are many years past the age of marriage. As an unmarried man, you are always thinking of sin. Leave and do not assume to teach the truths of God until you have obtained proper marriage."
Why didn't the Jewish Elders just abruptly dismiss him for this oversight? Perhaps it was well known that he kept the marriage commandment of his Father as he had kept all other commandments?
Like Latter-day Saints, the ancient Israelites considered marriage a sacred responsibility and children a blessing. (See Family) While there is no definitive proof available that the Jesus was married, the evidence might lead one to that conclusion. (See Eternal Marriage; Is there Eternal Marriage?)