Contrary to the claims of certain books and articles, Christ did not marry while on this earth as a human being. No one can point to a single New Testament passage which would even indicate that Jesus Christ had a physical wife. If Christ ever married while in the flesh, why is the entire New Testament completely silent on the subject?
Notice that Peter’s wife is mentioned. So are the wives of the other apostles and even of Christ’s own (half) brothers (I Cor. 9:5). On the stake, Christ’s concern was for His mother, not a wife (John 19:25-27). Would the Word of God have overlooked such an important person as the physical wife of Jesus if He had one? Absolutely not!
But why did Jesus not marry? There is a very important reason: He was not free to marry. Christ was already married before coming to the earth.
Christ was the God of the Old Testament. (Read our article – Jesus Christ, Is He God?) In Exodus 19 and 24, the One who became Jesus made a covenant with ancient Israel on Mount Sinai. This covenant was a marriage agreement. See Ezekiel 16 which describes God’s marriage to Israel. Verse 8 reads: “I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, said the Lord God, and thou became mine.” But Israel became “as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband” (verse 32)! She is likened to “women who break wedlock” (v. 39). Notice also Jeremiah 3:14: “Turn, O backsliding children for I am married unto you.”
His marriage covenant with her was binding until the death of one of the parties. Neither party was free to marry another, as the Apostle Paul makes clear in I Cor. 7:11. Therefore, Christ was not free to marry any human being while on this earth.
But Jesus’ death on the stake freed Him from that marriage (Rom. 7:1-4). Now He was free to remarry, which He will soon do. Only this time He will marry a sinless, spiritual “Israel.” This is His New Testament Church soon to be made spirit and who will be qualified to enter the Kingdom of God. Read Revelation 19:7: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready.”
But even if Jesus Christ had been free to marry during His physical lifetime, there are several reasons why He would have not:
It would have been difficult to be a proper husband and father during His 3 ½ years of ministry. He was constantly traveling to preach the gospel.
He knew He would have His life cut short at a very young age. He would not have been so thoughtless as to leave a widow and orphans, making them undergo many hardships as a result.
He knew that it is human to want to look to physical human beings instead of the Creator God. His widow and any offspring would have been exalted above measure and even worshipped.
The Bible does not advocate celibacy (Gen. 2:24; Heb. 13:4). By being unmarried Christ was able to serve in the special way which His unique commission on earth demanded. However, Christ made it clear that most should marry and have a wife and remain faithful to that wife. (Matt. 19:11-12).
If you would like to learn more on this subject listen to our audio sermon, “Was Christ Married?”