“Not [to] me. My mother gave me life…
The disciples said to Jesus, ‘
…deny Mary is n[ot] worthy of it…
…Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…
…she will be able to be my disciple…
Let wicked people swell up…
As for me, I dwell with her in order to…”
–The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.
The above quote was found only a just over a year ago from when I’m writing this very sentence. A tattered piece of papyrus written in Coptic which heavily implied Jesus was married was located in Upper Egypt. The news networks carrying the story, which was nearly all of them, kept reporting on the words, “My wife,” which were of course the most controversial words out of all the rest, but they didn’t mention the lines before that one, or after. The debates were centered on the one line and how many different things it could mean, not taking into account the things said leading up to Jesus saying, “My wife,” which were just as important when putting the “My wife” comment into context. Let’s review them for ourselves. The first few lines were:
“Not to me. My mother gave me life… The disciples said to Jesus, ‘…deny Mary is not worthy of it…’ Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’”
First of all, let’s see who we’re working with: someone’s mother (unknown), the disciples, Jesus, Mary (unknown), Jesus’ wife (unknown). We have the disciples saying to Jesus, “deny Mary is not worthy of it,” to which Jesus replies, “My wife,” and we lose the transmission. If it’s Jesus saying, “My mother gave me life,” it could explain the disciples using the name “Mary.” On the other hand, Mary the mother was beloved by the disciples — according to scripture — so it makes little sense they would be speaking of her unworthiness, and this explanation also doesn’t explain Jesus starting his reply with the words, “My wife.” At the risk of assuming, it seems pretty obvious the Mary the disciples are referring to is Mary Magdalene for a few reasons: (1) this is a Coptic writing; early Gnostic writings from the same area depict the disciples feeling Mary Magdalene wasn’t worthy of being one herself; (2) other Gnostic texts refer to Jesus kissing Mary and loving her more than the other disciples; and (3) Jesus answers them with, “My wife,” it’s unlikely there is a text which refers to Jesus marrying his mother Mary — although I wouldn’t be surprised to find a Mormon text saying such a thing. The next three lines, in my opinion, seal the deal:
“She will be able to be my disciple… Let wicked people swell up… As for me, I dwell with her in order to…”
“She will be my disciple” — the exact problem the disciples were having in the Gnostic Gospels. “Let wicked people swell up” — an attitude of scolding those who question his decision. “As for me, I dwell with her in order to” — reconfirms the marriage. Put it all together and add a few likely missing words:
“My mother gave me life [to find a woman to love.’] The disciples said to Jesus, ‘[Her past is something you cannot] deny[,] Mary is not worthy of it [to be your disciple]’ Jesus said to them, ‘My wife [is who I love the most.] She will be able to be my disciple [no matter who disagrees.] Let wicked people swell up [with judgement and envy.] As for me, I dwell with her in order to [be with the one I love most.’]”
Of course it would be simple to fill in words to fit any premeditated message; it doesn’t matter. The fact is this scroll — like most other records on Jesus — was written in Coptic hundreds of years after Jesus died. It can’t be taken in the slightest as a factual record of Jesus, even if it did say he was married and explained the ceremony, honeymoon, and divorce. Besides that though, for all we know this scroll is a forgery — the Catholic Church, no doubt, will say it is — even though the top researchers and scientists on earth have dated it back to the third or fourth century, but it does bring up an interesting and much debated topic; that of the family of Jesus.
The orthodox view holds that Jesus was an only-child born to Mary and Joseph through the Immaculate Conception. In their view, giving Mary other children takes away her purity as a lifelong virgin — a fact Catholicism depends on. The belief that she lived her whole life untouched and ascended to heaven before she died is a fundamental conviction to the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church, and some Lutheran churches; and therefore most of Christendom. But besides all that, Jesus having siblings also implies Mary could have had children before him, negating the Immaculate Conception story altogether and substantiating it as a hoax. Here is the Vatican’s official stance on the issue:
“…the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as… the “Ever-virgin” …the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus… these passages [are] not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, ‘brothers of Jesus,’ are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls ‘the other Mary.’” –Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1:499, 500.
A well worded explanation, but it’s illogical for a couple simple reasons. For one, multiple passages from the Bible separate Jesus’ brothers from his disciples:
“His brothers and His disciples.” —John 2:12
There would be no reason to refer to the disciples and Jesus’ brothers if Jesus’ brothers were just his disciples. For an analogy: If you were standing with a group of your male friends — none of them related to you — while telling someone on the phone who you’re with, you wouldn’t answer, “I’m with my brothers and some friends,” even if you referred to your male friends as your brothers — which many people do and have done for thousands of years. Instead, you would say, “I’m with my brothers” or “I’m with my friends,” not both; they’re one and the same. You might as well say, “I’m with my pal Mike, my friend Brian, my mate Chris, my dawg Steve, my comrade Gary, my bud Tyson, and my brother Dave”; but no one would ever speak like that. Unless Dave was your actual brother, every title you gave to your friends would be completely interchangeable and unnecessary to separate. This is the same principle with the way the Bible words its verses of Jesus’ brothers and sisters; they obviously mean his blood brothers and his blood sisters. In addition, another reason the above explanation falls apart is because it only accounts for James and Judas, not Simon or Joseph; therefore it’s only half an explanation — the Bible says Jesus had twice as many brothers as that — but it’s dictated as an absolute — it’s absolute insanity! Even the hijacker, Paul the Apostle, seems to know nothing of the Virgin Mary according to his letters in the Bible. He feels Jesus was born to an average woman under the law of wedlock:
“God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” –Acts 4:4.
Christian priest, theologian, historian, and son of older Christian historian Eusebius, St. Jerome, released a tract in 382 AD in response to a work written by fellow Roman-Christian, Helvidius, where Helvidius spoke out against the perpetual virginity of Mary. Jerome’s reply is a lengthy twenty-four paragraph charter of nonsense contending that those weren’t Jesus’ brothers and sisters, but half-siblings and cousins; inaccurately labeled sons and daughters of Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother; and if not that, children from an earlier marriage of Joseph, Jesus’ father. Uh-huh, sure bud. While Jerome tries to use scripture to back his story up, the only substance he provides for his argument is a story presented in the Apocryphal Gospel of James, written around 145 AD, which proclaims Mary was taken under care by an aging Joseph when she was fourteen and pregnant under god’s direction; and which was also considered heretical by the very Church Jerome represented not long after* when the Council of Nicaea took place — where the Bible was put together by Roman authorities in the early fourth-century and all other documents written about Christ were condemned.
Clearly the issue of the Virgin Mary having children other than Jesus is a touchy matter to those who believe in the Immaculate Conception, but in the case of Jesus having actual brothers and sisters, the Bible — which must be a Christian’s only authority on the matter or else they’re making up their own religion — is very clear:
“Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are His sisters not here with us?” –Mark 6:3, 4.
“Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is His mother not called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph, and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us?” –Matthew 13:55, 56.
“But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.” –Galatians 1:19.
“Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son.” –Matthew 1:24, 25.
“His brothers said to Him, ‘Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing’ …For not even His brothers were believing in Him. Jesus therefore said to them, “…Go up to the feast yourselves…’ But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret.” –John 7:3-10.
“While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.’ …And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold, My mother and My brothers!’” –Matthew 12:46-49
“…He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days.” –John 2:12.
“And His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him, and called Him.” –Mark 3:31.
“And it was reported to Him, ‘Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.’” –Luke 8:20:21.
“…These all [the disciples]… were continuously devoting themselves to prayer… and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” –Acts 1:14.
“But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.” –Galatians 1:19.
“…Jesus said, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household.’” –Mark 6:3, 4.
“Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?” —1 Corinthians 9:5.
“…that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” –Acts 1:13, 14.
So, according to the Bible, Jesus had four brothers: James, Judas, Simon, and Joseph; and sisters, too! Jesus, it would seem, came from quite a large family, which would make sense given his time and place in history. In fact, the Bible never states anywhere, even once, that Jesus doesn’t have any siblings. It’s nothing but a myth — being an only child of god — to conceal a ridiculous lie — the virgin birth.
The most documented of Jesus’ siblings — the one we’ve heard about most in previous episodes — would have to be his brother James the Just, first bishop of the Jerusalem Church and famous Christian martyr:
“…so he [Ananus, the high-priest] convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned.” –Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, c. 100 A.D.
Josephus, who wrote the above history, certainly has no qualms about calling James the brother of Christ, and as Josephus didn’t refer to peoples disciples as brothers, he must have meant Christ’s biological brother. He even specified there were other Christians being persecuted with James, but didn’t refer to them as Christ’s brothers. Why would he? They weren’t, only James was.
Another brother of Christ mentioned in the gospels was Jude, or Judas — Jude, Judah, and Judas are all interchangeable names in Aramaic. Interestingly, the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas — fragments date it as far back as 200 AD — is identified to be written by the apostle Didymus Judas Thomas. “Didymus” in Greek means “the twin” or “twin of” or simply “twin.” What’s more interesting is the New Testament identifies one of Jesus’ disciples as Thomas Didymus. “Thomas” in Aramaic also means “twin.” So the disciple Thomas would simply be someone Jesus and the other disciples referred to as “the twin” — just like Simon was called “Peter,” which means “the rock” in Aramaic — they all had nicknames. In fact, when the author of the Gospel of John names one of Jesus’ disciples as Thomas Didymus Thomas, he’s calling him twin twin twin. Who is this disciple the twin of? It could very well be Jesus. The Gnostics certainly thought so:
“These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke, and which Dydomus Judas Thomas wrote down.”–The Gospel of Thomas, Nag Hammadi Library.
The above quote is the opening verse from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. Now, with the Greek word “Didymus” simply meaning “the twin,” the above verse says: “…which the twin Judas Thomas wrote down.” Actually, with “Thomas” meaning “twin” in Aramaic, the Greek author of this gospel unknowingly wrote, “…which the twin Judas the twin wrote down.” How’s that for too many people translating an obscure piece of literature?
Furthermore, another Gnostic text, The Acts of Thomas, starts off with the disciples — after the resurrection — drawing lots to see who has to be the one to travel and spread the word of Christ through India — something none of them wanted to have to do:
“According to the lot, therefore, India fell to Judas Thomas, which is also the twin.” –the Acts of Thomas.
Reluctantly, and only after the resurrected Jesus sells him into slavery, the twin Judas Thomas goes to India to work as a carpenter and spread the word. While there he performs some miracles and gathers a large following during which time an interesting moment takes place — to this day there are Thomasine Christians in India.
For a brief scene setup: a gigantic wedding for the Indian king’s daughter is about to commence. Thinking the coast is clear after Judas Thomas and the king leave the area, the groom lifts the sheet separating his and the bride’s tents for a little before-honeymoon action. Unfortunately for him, Jesus is there waiting to scold him about premarital sex. Talk about getting busted in the worst way! The moral of the story isn’t our concern, though; what is indicated is:
“…the bridegroom lifted up the curtain… And he saw the Lord Jesus bearing the likeness of Judas Thomas and speaking with the bride; even the apostle… [had] gone out from them; and he said to him: Didn’t you just leave..? How then are you found here? But the Lord said to him: I am not Judas, which is also called Thomas, but I am his brother.” –the Acts of Thomas.
Amazing! So Thomas (Judas), according to this text, is the twin if Jesus!
Now, while the Gnostic Gospels have about as much credibility as any text about Christ written one to three hundred years after his death — which are all of them — the fact there was a large amount of followers who believed Jesus had a twin in early Christianity is quite telling. When did this commonly held belief disappear and why? Well, if Jesus did have a twin, he wouldn’t be one of a kind by any means, would he? The Immaculate Conception would be out the window, as well. It would also open up a huge can of worms in relation to his resurrection. But instead of getting into all that hearsay, we’ll look at another, rarer, yet extremely interesting, interpretation of the name Judas Thomas.
In 2007, Titanic producer, James Cameron, released a film entitled, the Lost Tomb of Jesus, in which a first-century, multi-generational tomb discovered in 1980 by a construction crew was the star. Located in the Talpiot region of East Jerusalem, the tomb in question held ten ossuaries — chests holding the bones of dead Hebrews — six of them labelled; one bearing the inscription: Yeshua bar Yehosef, or Jesus, son of Joseph. More shocking than that though, another ossuary bore the name Joseph; two were Mary — one: Maria, which is the Latinized form of Jesus’ mother’s name; the other: Mariamene e Mara, which means Mariamene AKA Mary; and another — our most important ossuary in relation to what we’re talking about — labeled Yehuda bar Yeshua: which means Judah, son of Jesus!
It is true that Judas and Jesus were common names of that era and area; so were Joseph and Mary. But, if you have a common name, and your dad has a common name, and your mom has a common name, and your son has a common name, and your wife has a common name, the chances of finding another family with the same names for each person — your mom, dad, wife, and son — would be extremely rare; it’s nearly an impossibility! To prove this to yourself, go look up other people with your name in the phonebook, then call them and ask if their whole family’s names coincide exactly with yours. You’re almost guaranteed to be completely unsuccessful — not only because most people are smart enough to not give strangers their personal information over the phone, but also because the probability is that there is no other family with the same names ascribed to the same people out there as yourself. Taking this fact of rarity into consideration, the probability of these ossuaries being of Christ’s direct family goes up substantially! Which makes you wonder: Could Judas Thomas have been Jesus’ son? Were he and Mary Magdalene married with a child? Many peoples’ sons look nearly identical to their fathers; inevitably causing people to say, “he’s your twin!” Maybe Judas Thomas was called the twin of Jesus because, like most sons, he looked just like his dad.
Intriguingly, there are leads to this hypothesis other than the ossuaries found in Jerusalem. The first comes to us in the form of the famous and mysterious person known in Christendom as as the Beloved Disciple — an unnamed disciple mentioned five times in the Bible’s New Testament, but only in the Gospel of John; in fact, John 21:24 asserts the gospel was based on the written testimony of the Beloved Disciple. The first time we hear of him is near the end of John’s account of the Last Supper:
“[Jesus]…said, ‘…one of you will betray me.’ The disciples began looking at each other… There was reclining on Jesus’ breast one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter… gestured to him… He leaning back thus on Jesus’ breast, said to Him, “Lord who is it?’” –John 13:21-25.
Subsequently our first encounter has this disciple “whom Jesus loved” leaning on Christ’s chest. The only natural way someone could lay on someone else’s chest would be if the two of them were lying down. Since these people were at supper, Passover no less, it’s doubtful they were all lying on the ground — they were most likely sitting in chairs. Taking this into account, for the Beloved Disciple to have had his head lying on Jesus’ chest — assuming it was his head — then he would have to have been sitting on his lap. What kind of people sit on grown men’s laps with their heads against their chest? The most plausible answer is: the children of those grown men — it’s extraordinarily common in all primates.
We meet the Beloved Disciple again at the crucifixion:
“…there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ He then said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” –John 19:25-27.
What Jesus seems to be saying to his Beloved Disciple is: “You’re now the man of the household; you are to take care of my mother as your own for the rest of her days.” The most logical person to take in Jesus’ mother would be his son, wouldn’t he? This was tradition back then. The son of a dead man becomes the “man of the house.” We also must take into account that, according the Gospel of Luke, all the other disciples watched the crucifixion “at a distance”; this leaves Mary the mother; Mary’s sister Mary; Mary Magdalene; and the Beloved Disciple as the only people allowed on the property Jesus was crucified on. It makes perfect sense these would be the direct family members of Jesus who were allowed this privilege — his mother, aunt, wife, and child. In fact, when Jesus is arrested a while before the crucifixion, the Gospel of Mark reports:
“And they laid hands on Him and, seized Him… And a certain young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he left the linen sheet behind and escaped naked.” –Mark 14:46-52.
Could this young man following Jesus and the arresting officers be Jesus’ son, the Beloved Disciple? Who else would run at armed officers arresting someone but close family? I would do the same if I witnessed my father being arrested, but I wouldn’t for yours. And “a certain disciple?” Where is the name of this boy?
As we already know, the Bible has been edited multiple times, by multiple people, in multiple environments, with multiple agendas for nearly 2000 years straight. Over these periods of time and reconstruction, names within the gospels have been misinterpreted, changed, invented, and removed, but for some reason this disciple, “whom Jesus loved,” is unnamed. This seems more than intentional, especially considering the crucial times he appears, such as the discovery of Jesus’ empty tomb:
“Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb… and the stone had already been taken away… And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and the disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb…’ Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple… And the two were running together; and the other disciple ran faster than Peter, and came to the tomb first… but he did not go in… Simon Peter… also came following him, and entered the tomb… So the first disciple who had come first to the tomb entered then also, and he saw and believed.” –John 20 :1-8.
So, again we have the Beloved Disciple — written as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in the Bible I have before me — appearing at a critical point of the Jesus story, not being named, but obviously being alluded to as the same person who was at the crucifixion and Last Supper. This time Mary Magdalene runs and tells him and Peter that Jesus’ tomb is open. Why tell him? Why is his the only name left out again? Hearing this, like any good son would, he outruns Peter to the tomb and sees it open, but he doesn’t enter. Why not? He doesn’t enter because of the first seven words of the above passage: “On the first day of the week.”
Early twentieth-century, Lutheran scholar, Richard C.H Lenski, explains:
“The Jews had no names for the weekdays… [so they] designated them with reference to their Sabbath” –Richard C.H. Lenski, 1943.
Therefore “the first day of the week” is the Sabbath. Member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbi Jeffrey Wolfson Goldwasser, explains further:
“Traditional Jewish law holds that a person should not visit a cemetery on Shabbat [the Sabbath]. The law is clearly derived from the nature of Shabbat [the Sabbath]… Grave sites are regarded as sacred ground in Jewish tradition and should be visited only in the solemnity of mourning and remembrance of the dead. To visit a cemetery on Shabbat [the Sabbath], therefore, would violate both Shabbat and the sanctity of the cemetery.” **
In keeping with what the good rabbi states about Jewish Law, we see why the Beloved Disciple didn’t enter the tomb: it was the Sabbath; he wasn’t supposed to, and so he stopped at the entrance. But, when Peter ran in and told him it was empty, the Beloved Disciple decides to go inside. Later that night, Jesus appears for the first time to the disciples; all except Thomas. For some reason he’s nowhere to be found. Where could the twin have been? The answer may lie in an Old Testament passage from the Book of Numbers:
“The person who touches the corpse of any person shall be unclean for seven days. That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he shall be clean.” –Numbers 19:11, 12.
So, even though the Beloved Disciple hesitated, he ended up breaking his faith and entering the sacred place of the dead anyway. After this, being a good Jewish boy like his father, he purified himself for seven days as Jewish Law states in the Book of Numbers; thus he wasn’t there with the other disciples when Jesus appeared; and Thomas is the only person mentioned as missing. This is remarkable when one takes into account the day Jesus finally appeared to Thomas:
“And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came… and stood in their midst.” –John 20:26.
So, Thomas was gone for a week before rejoining the other disciples. Was it a week of purification? The numbers, religion, region, and situation all add up. It’s more than possible, and extreme likely, that the name of this Beloved Disciple was kept out of the New Testament for a reason; which means other things almost certainly were as well. Like the part about Judas Thomas cleansing himself after entering the tomb; or Judas Thomas being the Beloved Disciple: Jesus’ son!
The next time we meet the unnamed Beloved Disciple is during a fishing excursion. He and six other disciples are on a boat fishing when Jesus appears on the beach calling to them to bring their net in, just in time for them to catch just over a hundred and fifty fish — not that Jesus is a showoff or anything. All but one of the disciples didn’t recognize who is shouting at first; the one who did did right away:
“That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’” –John 21:7.
It makes sense your own son would recognize you before anyone else.
The Beloved Disciple pops up again right in the ending of the Book of John. Jesus appears to the disciples and takes Peter for a walk. After making Peter swear that he loves him, three times, Peter turns around to see the “disciple whom Jesus loved” following behind. A strange bit transpires:
“Peter therefore seeing him said to Jesus, ‘Lord what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’ This saying therefore went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’” –John 21:21-23.
It seems by this ending that the author — who is believed to have written this around 100 AD — was trying to clear up some controversy at the time between the brethren; as if the Beloved Disciple had died before Jesus returned (obviously) and it was seen by some as a reason to doubt, or break, their faith, so the author threw in the line, “…yet Jesus didn’t say he would not die, but only…” Whatever the circumstance, the Beloved Disciple was definitely someone early Christians viewed as a person who would be alive until Jesus returned — someone important enough to document, but dangerous enough to hide the identity of later. Was he Judas Thomas; Jesus’ son? Was he Thomas Didymus; Jesus’ twin brother? Was he someone completely different? Or was he nobody but the creation of an ancient author’s imagination?
The last mentions we have of the Beloved Disciple are the lines below, which are the very last words of the book of John, and which occur directly after the words quoted above:
“This is the disciple who bears witness of these things, and who writes these things; and we know that his witness is true.” –John 21:24.
It isn’t so hard to believe for non-Christians — and even many Christians — that Jesus, if he even existed, had a mother, a father, and lots of brothers and sisters. For those who couldn’t care less of the story of Jesus, he could have had a thousand sons — the amount of wives his great-grandpa Solomon had — and it wouldn’t concern them in the slightest, though we would all probably be impressed. But, believe it or not, what we’ve covered aren’t the only clues we have of the Christ family; there are indications of a cousin, as well:
“[Gabriel the Angel said to Mary,] ’And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.’”–Luke 1:36.
The Elizabeth Gabriel is referring to as Mary’s “relative” is John the Baptist’s mother — yet another Immaculate Conception — which makes Jesus John’s cousin. With this being so, it does a lot to explain the relationship between Jesus and John. For one, it clarifies how they knew each other in the first place, without having to involve a ridiculous, invented prophesy; and for another, it explains why John baptized Jesus into the status of a messiah, without having to involve doves floating out of heaven. With a connection as well-known as John the Baptist being Jesus’ blood relative, it’s no wonder he became the icon he did after John’s arrest and capital punishment. Strip away the B.S and this Bible actually has a little sense of history to it. It would be great to search the Vatican’s vaults to see what they have hiding down there; or come across an archaeological find of a hebrew scripture from the Second Temple era. This could all be cleared up.
This leaves us with the last theory we’ll explore on the family of Jesus, which is also the one we started with: the marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene. This is one of the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding Christianity due to the success of Dan Brown’s, The Da Vinci Code, and it may well have been true — in fact I’m sure Jesus would had to have been married if he really existed.
Our first clues come from the Gnostic Gospels, which I’ll remind the reader most of which were written earlier than any gospels in the Bible — at least the earliest copies of any gospels we have are gnostic. To begin, we take a verse from the Gospel of Mary — Magdalene — in a scene where Mary has just explained secret knowledge to the disciples that Jesus had privately imparted to her. Peter and others take offense at the fact Jesus gave Mary, a woman, information he kept from the men, and they begin to call her a liar. Then the disciple Levi speaks up:
“…if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us.” –the Gospel of Mary.
Why would an unmarried man love a woman he’s not involved with more than his direct followers? Unlike the gospels of the Bible, the gnostic texts put Mary in quite a high regard among those who lived close to Jesus. She’s basically written out of the New Testament, but the Gnostic Gospels almost say outright that she and Jesus were an item:
“And the companion of the [saviour was] Mary Magdalene. [He loved] her more than [all] the other disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [mouth]… They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’” –The Gospel of Phillip, Book II, verse 63.
It doesn’t get much more intimate than kissing on the mouth — presuming it was her mouth; it’s unknown as there is a hole in the papyrus — and again we have the disciples jealous of how much Jesus loves Mary Magdalene.
In the days these gospels were written, the gnostic branch of Christianity would have been just as big as the orthodox. The Gnostic Gospels would have been based upon the same information the New Testament Gospels were based upon — since gospels were gospels on their own back then and not a complete book like today — but the New Testament Gospels leave out the tradition and importance of Mary Magdalene completely, making her a whore instead. Why? The difference is actually in geography.
The early Western Church demonized Mary Magdalene and incorporated her with the unnamed “sinner” that Jesus cast seven demons out of in Luke 7; while the Eastern Church regarded her as a saint. The man responsible for making Mary Magdalene a prostitute — which is what Christians generally regard her as today — was the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory I in the sixth-century. Gregory would preach of Mary Magdalene being the model repentant; a dirty hooker whom Jesus saved from the depths of hell and made good again. In reality the gospels never mention any of that. Mary is actually depicted in the New Testament as the main woman who feeds and funds Jesus during his ministry — she’s a key character. All we have to do to prove her absolute importance is count the times she appears in the four gospels and what significance she bears at those times:
• She is spoken of as a woman who provided for Jesus “out of her own means.” (Luke 8)
• She is a close witness to Christ’s crucifixion. (Matthew 27, Mark 15, John 19)
• She is there when Jesus is buried. (Matthew 27, Mark 15)
• She’s the first one to go to Christ’s tomb on the Sabbath. (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20)
• She’s the first one to see Christ resurrected. (Matthew 28, Mark 16, John 20)
Because these are such crucial parts of the story, the authors of the New Testament had no choice but to leave Mary Magdalene in them; though it is no doubt the earlier versions of the gospels contained more information about her that has since been removed — information which probably coincided with the gnostic accounts to some degree. Today, she’s nothing more than a reformed slut-for-hire to the common Christian.
When putting Mary Magdalene and the marital status of Jesus into context there are a few glaring points to be considered. First we have the common practice of ancient Judaism. A respected man of Jesus’ age back then would by all means have been a married man, especially given the fact that he was a practicing Jew who lived and preached the Law; and “in the time of Jesus, a Jewish man received a wife at the age of 18.”**** Also, Jesus never preached celibacy once; in any gospel. Neither did the authors of the letters which follow the New Testament gospels — it just wasn’t Christ’s style. Furthermore, the disciples constantly refer to Jesus as “rabbi” and “teacher,”*** — rabbi means teacher — and according to Kiddushin 82a of the Jewish Talmud: an unmarried man can’t teach to elementary students; therefore rabbis were and are married men, including Jesus, who taught to children (“Elementary students”):
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” –Luke 18:16.
In fact, in John 6:25 the entire multitude — men, women, and children — refer to Jesus as their “rabbi.” He would have to be a married man to receive that title and be recognized by it.
To further drive this point home we’ll look to the apostles. Though the age of the twelve disciples is not known, it’s likely they were under the age of eighteen, as they were unmarried men who lived together with only three women amongst them, two of them being Mary the mother and Mary Magdalene. Jesus referred to them as “little ones” (Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, John 13:33). Also, after a Jewish young man reached the age of fifteen he began apprenticing in the workforce, like James and John. As well, according to Exodus 30:14, 15:
“Everyone… twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord… half-shekel [2 drachmas].”
This was a tax still present in Jesus’ time. This is indicated in Matthew 17:24-27:
“And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came over to Peter, and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ And when he came to the house, Jesus spoke… saying, ‘…go to the sea, and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a stater [one full shekel]. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.’”
Aside from being ridiculous — finding coins in a fish’s mouth — two parts of this verse are very telling without using the words to express them. First, the tax-collector referred to Jesus as “your teacher,” which would be, “your rabbi”; and second, Jesus only instructed Peter to pay for two people out of all the disciples: himself and Peter, implying they were the only two of the nomadic group twenty years or older. This suggests the disciples closest to Jesus were teenagers. This also makes logical sense as cults target teenagers because they’re more susceptible to fall into ideological philiosophies they don’t fully understand. Older people know better and care less — the Manson family and Jihad training camps are two prime examples. It’s a very safe assumption, based solely on the title “rabbi,” and the ages of his disciples, that Jesus was a married man who taught the Law to kids as well as adults; and since he was a Jewish man over the age of 18, it’s pretty much a guaranty that he was married. It would be very out of the ordinary if he wasn’t, and therefore it would be mentioned — but then again, the authors of the Bible left 17 years of Christ’s life out altogether, so what do we expect?
Next we’ll look at the only wedding that takes place within the gospels: the wedding in Cana — where Jesus performs his first miracle! Oooooh, ahhhhhh.
Written of only in John 2, the author fails to identify whose wedding is taking place. All he lets us know is that Jesus, the disciples, and Mary the mother are there; and in charge:
“And when the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said, ‘Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.’” –John 2:3-5.
Woman, for the record, was a respectful address, according historians. After this exchange with Mary, Jesus orders the servants to fill up six tubs with water which he instantly turns to wine. Ta-da!
The question remains though, why is Jesus’ mother ordering the servants around and worrying about refreshments if she’s the guest of this wedding? Guests don’t worry about this type of thing; and servants certainly don’t take orders from strangers who aren’t the ones hiring and paying them. It would make sense for the mother of the groom to be taking care of these things, especially considering Jewish tradition. And why are all the disciples there? These are Jesus’ disciples. Who would they know that Mary knows? What does “my hour has not yet come,”***** mean? The Ryrie Study Bible claims it means he wasn’t ready to reveal he was the messiah to anyone yet; but he still performed the miracle in front of all the servants, so that theories out the window. He very well could have meant, “Let me get married before I start playing host.” That makes a lot more sense. Either way, after he turns the water into wine, this happens:
“And the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and he did not know where it came from (but the servants that had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and he said to him, ‘Every man serves the good wine first… you have kept the good wine until now.’” –John 2:9, 10.
Every man serves the good wine first? What men and where? Grooms at their weddings. So, we have the Bible telling us Jesus performed the miracle in front of several servants — “…the servants that had drawn the water knew” — reconfirming what he didn’t mean by, “My hour has not yet come.” Also, we have the part of the headwaiter calling the bridegroom over and telling him his impression of serving even better wine later in the night. Could this bridegroom have been Jesus? It must have been. He provided the wine! It’s actually possible this wedding was just part of a much longer marriage tradition within Second-Temple Jewish life. Author and researcher of Christian origins, Dr. Barbara Theiring, postulates:
“…in Luke 7:37-50… the woman poured precious ointment over Jesus… The word for the ointment is in Greek ‘nardos’, ‘nard.’ In John 12:3 ‘the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.’ This is a direct allusion to the sexual rite described in the Song of Solomon 1:12: ‘When the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance.’ The Song of Solomon is the wedding liturgy of the David kings, a grand oriental ceremony conducted over many days, with the beautiful poetic passages to be read at each stage. Its ceremony was used in the wedding of Jesus, the descendant of the David kings.”
Last but not least we’ll get into the subject of the name “Mary.” As we saw earlier pertaining to who was present at the crucifixion:
“…there were standing by the cross…His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary… and Mary Magdalene.” –John 19:25
It is one thing to say Mary was a common name, but are we supposed to believe that Jesus’ mother and her sister were both named Mary? It was such common name that parents sometimes gave it to two of their daughters? It’s doubtful to say the least! Actually, second-century church chronicler Hegesippus felt Mary the sister, wife of Clopas, was actually Mary the mother’s sister-in-law, and Clopas was Joseph’s — Jesus’s dad’s — brother. Just as Judas was called Thomas and Didymus, Simon was called Peter, and Jesus was called Christ, it’s likely that Mary, in these three women’s cases, was a title. The New Testament stories, we must remember, were passed down as oral tradition for generations until they were put down on papyrus; these three women could have shared a common trait which gave them the position of Mary, which eventually through time just became their names. The name Mary in Hebrew culture most likely derives from Miryam, the name of Moses’ sister, which would make the name Mary and Miryam of Egyptian descent, as Moses and Aaron are Egyptian names:
“…it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry “beloved” or mr “love”. –Behind the Name; the etymology and history of first names.
Miryam was the first woman prophetess of the Israelites — maybe the most important woman in Jewish history. The Marys bond in the Jesus story may be that they were all the beloved wives of the kingly Davidic bloodline: Mary the mother was married to Joseph; Mary Magdalene was married to Jesus; and Mary the sister was married to Clopas, who again was part of the Davidic bloodline if he was Joseph’s brother as Hegesippus tells us. It certainly makes more sense than Mary the mother’s parents naming her and her sister the same thing!
As all sources we have of the life of Jesus were written long after his death, there’s no telling what the real story was in reference to his family life — if he was ever a man at all and not completely invented, which is, to me, unlikely. One thing is for sure, the general view projected from organized Christianity is that he was god’s son and therefore an only-child and a childless bachelor; but as far as the Bible tells it, they’re wrong. Jesus had four brothers and multiple sisters; his brother James led his ministry after he died. There are hundreds of theories, all of them with scriptural evidence to illustrate their conclusions; and that’s why it’s so dangerous to take a vague, ancient, chopped up, and amended book as an absolute truth — the only thing absolute about it is the lack of truth within it. A million different interpretations could be found throughout every verse of the Bible from front to back; it really makes no difference in the end. The people who employ themselves at churches, exempt of taxes, and preach their version of what the Bible says and emphatically discriminate against those who oppose are the only ones who matter at the end of the day. They’re the ones with something to gain and everything to lose. This is the reason that all Christians should look into the Bible themselves to formulate their own opinions on the subjects within. If they did they would be bound to come to different conclusions than what they were taught to believe it was about. Who knows, maybe the ancient scroll they found recently which stated, “Jesus said, ‘My wife…’” was a verse from a copy of the Gospel of Mark from a year after the crucifixion. Maybe he was married with a son. Maybe a daughter, too. Taken from an historical standpoint it’s a fascinating subject to look into, as long as you aren’t foolish enough to think you’ll be punished for doing so.
By Olan Thomas of CUT2THETRUTH.com
* The Gospel of James was deemed heretical in the fifth-century by the Catholic Church because of its graphic description of a midwife examining the Virgin Mary’s vagina to verify her pureness.
** Judaism.about.com — “Rabbi Jeffrey Wolfson Goldwasser was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR, the seminary and yeshiva of Judaism’s Reform Movement) in New York City. He has served Congregation Beth Israel of North Adams, Massachusetts, since 2000. He is a member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform).”
*** Jesus is referred to as “rabbi” a total of 12 times in the Bible.
**** Quote from article: “Jesus’ Bachelors –The disciples were most likely under 18” by David Paul Kirkpatrick.
*****“ My hour has not yet come,” appears again in John 8:20, but it is the author saying it, not Jesus.
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