Sunday, September 14, 2014

Did Jesus Have A Family?

John 4:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There has always been questions and debates regarding Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Was he really the messiah? Was he really the son of God?  Did he really die for our sins on the cross?  Did he have a wife and children?  A lot of the questions have gone on for decades with many scholars coming up with some controversial conclusions about the life and time of the famous Jesus.  Recent debate is possibly evidence that Jesus did in fact have a wife.  There was always speculation by some that not only Jesus was married but his wife was actually Mary Magdalene, one of his disciples.  This theory was also made in several books over decades the earliest being “The Holy Blood, The Holy Grail(1982)” by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.  

In this book the theory is not only that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married but they had children and their descendants are of the Merovingian Dynasty in France.  Other books that supports these theories is “The Templar Revelation(1997)” by Clive Prince and Lynn Picknett.  In this book, Jesus is a disciple of John the Baptist whose teachings were from Egyptian mystery religion Isis-Osirus-Horus and that Mary Magdalene was ritualized to having a sacred sexual relationship with Jesus.  Then there is the popular mystery fiction novel “The Da Vinci Code(2003)” by author Dan Brown.  There hasn’t been any confirmed proof that Jesus was married or Mary Magdalene was his wife, however there has been new findings that may consider the possibility.  Recently, in September 18, 2012, Professor Karen King of Harvard Divinity School, announced the existence of a papyrus fragment dubbed “The Gospel of Jesus Wife” at the International Coptic Congress in Rome. Following the months later, numerous studies and scientific testing was done one papyrus by several professionals who determined it was written in seventh or eighth century.  The English translation of the fragments has the phrases “Jesus said to them ‘my wife she is able to be my disciple, and ‘as for me I am with her in order to”.  Despite this, many skeptics doubt the papyrus is genuine and even believe it was a forgery including Coptic specialist Christian Askeland, Professor of Indiana Wesleyan University.  Some believe the fragments are genuine and a few scholars suspect the text was written by Egyptian Christians in AD 400.  

Then there is the famous Jesus Family Tomb in Talpiot which I mentioned in my previous post(See fact or fiction part 2).  I mentioned in this discovered tomb nine ossuaries with the names “Yeshua Bar Yosef” which in Aramaic means “Jesus son of Joseph”.  Other names are “Mariamne” which some believe refers to Mary Magdalene, “Yosa” meaning Joses(Joseph).  In the New Testament Jesus is mentioned of having four brothers, James(known as James The Just), Joses(Joseph), Judas(Judah) and Simon as well some unnamed sisters in the Gospels of Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56.  Canadian Israeli Journalist, author and film director Simcha Jacabovici made a documentary film on these findings and co-wrote the book about it claiming these were the remains of Jesus and his family.  He believes that the name Mariamne is referring to his wife Mary Magdalene, Yosa, his brother Joseph.  There is also an ossuary with the name “Yehuda Bar Yeshua” translated as “Judah son of Jesus” leaving him to believe of the possibility Jesus also had some children. 

Also was discovered was the tenth and missing ossuary found in the Kidron Valley, near Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  This ossuary had the Aramaic inscription “Ya’akov bar-Yosef akhui diYeshua” translated as “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”.  The existence of the ossuary was announced on October 21, 2002 in a Washington Press conference co-hosted by the Discovery Channel and the Biblical Archaeology Society and is owned by Oded Golan, an Israeli engineer and artifact collector.  Many believe the ossuary to be that of Jesus brother known as James, the Just also an Apostle. However, some doubt the authenticity of the inscriptions, in fact, Mr. Golan was arrested for forgery of the ossuary in late 2004 and it took several years for him to be cleared of the charges in 2012.  Mr. Golan put the ossuary on public display and debate still going on whether it is the genuine box of Jesus brother’s remains.  However, if these claims were true it could possibly mean that Jesus resurrection wasn’t true.  Some speculate that perhaps his disciples moved his body from the tomb after his death and hid it, then put in the family tomb later on.  Skeptics rebuke the idea that the Jesus family tomb is the actual burial of Jesus and his family as the names Jesus, Mariamne, Joseph and Judah were common names in Israel during that period. Also, there isn’t any real evidence that Jesus was ever married or had children or had any relations with Mary Magdalene. 

Another controversial theory is the paternity of Jesus Christ. Over years, some scholars who doubted Jesus was the son of God believed that his true father was a Roman soldier named Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera.  This theory was first mentioned by a 2nd century Greek philosopher Celsus who claimed Jesus was a result of an affair with Mary and Pantera.  Others speculate Mary might have been raped by Pantera.  A possible support to this theory is in a Talmud, a text of Rabbinic Judaism which consists of over 6,200 pages written in Mishnaic Hebrew and Aramaic.  Some scholars believe the text contains information about Christian traditions related to Jesus.  In some of the texts refers to “Yeshu Ben Pandera” Hebrew translation of “Jesus son of Panthera” found in the Tosefta, Qohelet Rabbah and Jerusalem Talmud.  However, other scholars refute the theory that the Jesus in this text is Jesus Christ.  In fact, historians claim that there is evidence he was a different person.  In the Talmud Shabbot 104b and Sanhedrin 67a, Yeshu Ben Pandera is also known as Ben Stada(Son of Stada), and was a result of a adulterous affair between Miriam(Mary) a hairdresser also called Stada and Joseph Pandera, a Merchant.  Miriam’s husband was Pappos Ben Yehudah(Son of Judah).  This Jesus brought black magic and sorcery from Egypt and deceived and led Israel astray.  He later was stoned to death and hung in the town of Lod on the eve of Passover along with his five disciples. This should clear up any speculation to Jesus parentage although there are still skeptics.  

The fact remains there isn’t any confirmed evidence Jesus was ever married and had a children neither any reason that if such a thing was true it was omitted from the bible. I personally believe that if Jesus was married to anyone it would have been mentioned as it wasn’t forbidden for him to have a wife or any children.  As for whether he is the son of God, there will always be skeptics with their own theories on this matter, and I know the bible may not be 100% proof of this knowledge, but as I mentioned before in a previous post, that I have strong faith in Jesus Christ was our Savior is the son of God, died on the cross for all our sins and was later resurrected.  As long as any of us has faith in Jesus Christ our Savior, and embrace him in our lives that is all that really matters.