With Easter Sunday having just passed there are normally a slew of programs about the life of Jesus. Inevitably there are people who pose questions such as: do we really know Jesus even existed and did he have children (oh how the Da Vinci code brought endless questions on this matter)? While reading 1 Corinthians this week I realized that 1 Corinthians 9:5 seems to provide evidence that at least Paul did not think Jesus was married and I am curious why this is not the first piece of evidence marshaled to counter any claims that Jesus was married. (Of course the fact that Jesus is not portrayed as having a wife in the Gospels is pretty compelling on its own!)
1 Cor 9:5 (NRSV) Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
This passage occurs in the context of Paul defending his rights as an apostle. The most common reading of this passage is that the brothers of Jesus, Peter, and at least some of the other apostles had wives. More specifically commentators stress the fact that these wives travelled with them. If Paul is citing examples of other important Christians who have wives it seems that Jesus would be at the front of this list if he had a wife. I suppose it is possible that one could argue that Jesus had a wife who did not travel with him, but I suspect Paul would have reworked this sentence to include Jesus if he had a wife. Possibly this is the first passage used to counter any claims concerning Jesus and marriage however I have not heard it used in this context.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter, my daughter certainly enjoyed her first Easter.