Jesus is Already Betrothed
Have you noticed all the hoopla on the internet about the new partial (and by partial, I mean eight partial lines) manuscript discovery that has been named The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife? I would refer you to Michael J. Kruger’s or Dr. Mohler’s articles for a scholarly synopsis, and even its possible forgery. But apparently, Karen King of Harvard University is ready to proclaim that the Coptic fragments reveal the marital status of Jesus Christ, maybe. Here is a quote from Dr. Mohler’s article:
What Karen King revealed on Tuesday was a tiny papyrus fragment with Coptic script on both sides. On one side the fragment includes about 30 words on eight fragmentary lines of script. The New York Times described the fragment as “smaller than a business card, with eight lines on one side, in black ink legible under a magnifying glass.” The lines are all fragmentary, with the third line reading “deny. Mary is worthy of it,” and the next reading “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife.’” The fifth states, “she will be able to be my disciple.”
From this, the media is now proposing that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were a married couple. Interesting.
I can tell you one thing—this evidence would not be enough to convince the Department of Motor Vehicles. I should know. After being married for 7 years with my married name on my Maryland driver’s license, I didn’t think it would be a big deal getting my new West Virginia license. Boy was I wrong! They would not accept my original marriage license because the state required a new seal on it after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Frustrated, I pointed out that my Maryland driver’s license already had my married name on it—see? They didn’t care. I was wearing my wedding ring, and my husband was right beside me (obtaining his license with no problems, of course). I had to hightail it to the court-house in Maryland and get a new marriage license before I could get my West Virginia driver’s license.
But this business card-sized slice of a so-called ancient document proves that Jesus Christ, son of God, was married to Mary Magdalene? Perhaps we should take it over to my DMV for inspection.
I’m no scholar, so I will let all that play out. Obviously, we already have other apocryphal documents that do not comply with our inspired Scriptures. But I already know the gospel of Jesus’s wife. Theologically speaking, I know that Jesus did not consummate a marriage to Mary Magdalene because he is already betrothed to another, his church.
Dennis Johnson has a great chapter, New Jerusalem, Wife of the Lamb, in his commentary on Revelation, Triumph of the Lamb. Here is an excerpt that encourages me to wait patiently for that glorious day of our future wedding banquet:
But Revelation has shown us the history-long combat in which Jesus the Lamb has been engaged in order to win and beautify his bride.
The consummation of this romance is what Revelation has been about from the start. The blood and fire, locusts and smoke, falling stars and trembling earth, the dragon, the monsters, the scarlet woman—the whole terrifying conflict has been about the divine Husband’s jealous love for his bride, a love so jealous that he will fight all comers in order to have her all to himself, a love so sacrificial that he lays down his life to protect her from every threat and enemy. John has seen this “holy city” as the temple’s outer court, left “unmeasured” and exposed to trampling under the nations’ feet, persecuted and despised by the unbelieving world (Rev. 11:2). Now he will see the holy city, beautified for her Husband and radiating the light of his glory (21:2, 11). Now the city is measured top to bottom (21:15-17), so secure from enemies that no longer exist that it never needs to shut its gates against invaders (21:25)…The New Jerusalem, the bride, the wife of the Lamb (21:9-10) is an almost blinding, imagination-overloading image of the people whom God loves passionately (302).
Jesus Christ is already betrothed. The wedding date is still in the future, but it is so sure that the church can already call itself the bride of Christ. Mary Magdalene will be there, but she has to wait like the rest of us.