Jesus Christ Is Married
The marriage of Jesus Christ is a powerful topic worthy of our consideration! We understand it is life eternal to know him, (John 17:3) therefore anything that helps us reach this goal is worth looking into. Do we really know Him if we reject the reality of this type of relationship in his life? When I think of myself in my life, I cannot imagine someone claiming to know me without not only acknowledging my marriage relationship, but understanding the implications it has on who I am.
Among the many evidences for the rich truth that Jesus was married, Jewish custom and tradition is a strong one. LDS scholar Vern G. Swanson in his work Dynasty of the Holy Grail notes his research:
“In Judaism, marriage was the established norm. The vernacular Hebrew word for marriage, kiddushin, comes from a root meaning holy, as in holy matrimony. . . So sacred was the marriage that the primary obligation of every Jewish father was to find a suitable wife for his son before his twentieth birthday. According to later 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..” (Dynasty of the Holy Grail, Swanson, 2nd Ed., p. 78)
Swanson further states: “Judaism considered marriage as a consummation of the commandment to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ The Pharisees would certainly have heaped the reproach of bachelorhood upon Christ if He had been a single man, over thirty, and a Rabbi who had studied the Torah. The Talmud records this custom, “A man shall first take unto himself a wife and then study Torah.” Then after three decades he is “at thirty for authority.” Ludwig Kohler explains that the Old Testament has no word for bachelor, so unusual was the practice. Non-LDS British author Charles Davis concluded that “any practice or advocacy of voluntary celibacy would …have been so unusual as to have attracted much attention and comment.” The [biblical] text has the disciple Nathaniel calling Jesus “Rabbi.” (John 1:49) The Jewish requirement, within a hundred and seventy year radius of the time of Jesus, would have called for a rabbi to be married, since Mishnah Law commands, “An unmarried man may not be a teacher of children.” As we know Jesus often taught children. Young adults were literally commanded to wed, “He who does not marry thereby diminishes the image of God.” (Dynasty of the Holy Grail, p. 83)
As noted by Swanson, if Jesus went about his ministry doing the things He did having forbidden to marry, surely this would have been pointed out by the Pharisees who constantly sought to “catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.” (Luke 11:54)
Who is the first person Christ appears to after overcoming death? Consider that interaction at the tomb with Mary Magdalene. Elder Orson Hyde, a man who memorized the Bible in English, German, and Hebrew, paraphrased her inquiry this way:
“She said unto them, “Because they have taken away my Lord,” or husband, “and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” Is there not here manifested the affections of a wife. These words speak the kindred ties and sympathies that are common to that relation of husband and wife.” (JD 2:75)
Claiming his body the way she did in the verses would have been highly inappropriate if she was not his wife, for that was a custom allowed only by the closest of family members.
The Apostle Paul wrote that marriage was a qualification for those holding offices in the church. (1Timothy 3:1-2; Titus 1:6) He also clearly identified celibacy, or forbidding to marry, as a doctrine of devils. (1Timothy 4:1-3)
After quoting John 2:1-10, Elder Orson Hyde clearly observed:
“Gentlemen, that is as plain as the translators, or different councils over this Scripture, dare allow it to go to the world, but the thing is there; it is told; Jesus was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee, and he told them what to do. Now there was actually a marriage; and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. If any man can show this, and prove that it was not the Savior of the world, then I will acknowledge I am in error. We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified.” (JD 2:81-82)
Jesus Christ led through a perfect example in all He did. He never asked His followers to keep a law, or enter into a covenant He himself had not already kept. This is evidenced by His choice to be baptized, even though He was perfect. As President Joseph F. Smith observed: “Jesus Christ never omitted the fulfillment of a single law that God had made known for the salvation of the children of men. It would not have done for him to have come and obeyed one law and neglected or rejected another. He could not do that and then say to mankind, ‘Follow me.’ (Millennial Star 62:97)
We read in D&C 131 that “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.” How could the Lord forgo the very requirement for the highest degree of glory, and then require that of His covenant people?
In Wilford Woodruff’s journal we read that “A man obeying a lower law is not qualified to preside over those who keep a higher law.” (14 October 1882) Jesus Christ surely kept the higher laws that enabled Him to be, in his own words, the “lawgiver.” (D&C 38:22) This is further evidenced in this statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (TPJS, p. 308)
Latter-day Saints openly believe in a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother who are obviously married, yet for some reason many are hesitant to acknowledge the marriage of Jesus Christ. Are we to believe that all of us are entering into marriage covenants while Jesus remains single for eternity, yet somehow progresses to become a God himself? What of Jesus statement: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19)
Why this topic is not openly taught is a mystery to me. But what I do know is that pondering over it, and discussing the topic with the Lord himself, has brought many deep, and helpful insights to my life, and my own marriage relationship; and ultimately, has helped me to know the Savior better for who He really is. Imagine Jesus Christ as the ultimate example of a perfect husband!