People have questioned Jesus’ love life for centuries. Why did He never marry? You have already probably heard of Dan Brown’s answer: Jesus did marry; He married Mary of Magdelene. He isn’t the first one to promote this conspiracy nor will he be the last. Paul Oestreicher writes in ‘the Guardian” that Jesus must have been gay. To support this, he points to Jesus’ love for his disciples, specifically John. O, boy! God forbid we can love our friends with non-platonic love.
Despite the unfounded claims above, it is an excellent question. Why didn’t Jesus marry? It would have been unusual for a Jewish man to not marry in the first century, especially a respected Rabbi. There certainly is nothing unholy or impure about marriage. Afterall, it is the default status of being a human. It is good. God created mankind as a married couple and then told them to multiply.
So why didn’t Jesus marry?
Actually, He did, and you are quite familiar with His bride.
She was not the kind of woman you would expect the holy son of God to pursue. She was a divorcee five times over. She was certainly not a church-going lady. She was even banned from attending synagogue and much of civil society. She was the child of adultery and was in the middle of an affair when He found her. You might have heard about her. Her name was in the papers from time to time for robbery, prostitution, drug dealing and she even had an abortion or two. She was confused about her sexuality and probably had a problem with pornography.
She had murdered her brother, had her best friend killed to steal his spouse, and worked as a tax collector betraying her own people by charging them more than required. She is from a pagan religion and culture. She spent some of her life terrorizing Christians right up to the moment she met Him. She was a slave to her desires and still has trouble with it from time to time. She is the last one who should wear a white gown and have people rise as she walks down the aisle.
I think you know His wife quite well. She eats at your table and sleeps in your bed.
Yet Jesus pursued her and would not stop till He rescued her. Every marriage counselor in the world would advise against such a marriage. Yet He paid off all her debts, her guilt, her shame, her secret discrepancies and her sins. He is so in love with her that He gave up His life for her. He let her accusers insult Him, mock Him and beat Him without saying a word. As a wedding gift to His bride, He hung on the cross meant for her.
Did Jesus ever marry? Yes, He married you! He did not marry a single woman because He came to make each of us His bride. In Baptism, He makes a vow to you, and He is faithful. No one has ever seen such a husband. For even though we trespass our vow, He remains vigilant. He wipes our tears of regret and shame with words and meal, “Take and eat, take and drink the blood of the new covenant for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Did Jesus ever marry? Yes, He married you!
He will have and hold you for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. He will love and cherish you, yet not even death will part you from Him. He is risen from the dead so that you may do the same.
We may not always feel like that beautiful bride coming down the aisle in a gown of white, yet in His holy eyes, this is exactly who we are. We are what He calls us, holy. He dresses us in His righteous robes. While we may not see it now, John tells us that one day, we will see ourselves as Christ sees us: the bride fully accepted and made perfect by her Bridegroom.
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:2-4).