We have all heard about the new discovery of the fragment of papyrus that references Jesus’ wife. Many have asked why wouldn’t Jesus be a married man? Then, go on to imagine that the only person mentioned in the Bible who would qualify for the position would be Mary Magdalene.
Well, the Jewish Marriage Law is the reason Jesus was not married.
As we all know, Jesus was not a human man’s son. Mary claimed that the child she bore was God’s child. A child whose mother is known, but not the father, was known as a silent one (Hebrew: shetukhi), and fell into the same category as a foundling. This does not mean illegitimate, but there were restrictions placed on those who fell into this category. The child would be educated in the Torah and allowed to participate in synagogue as a full member, BUT they were not allowed to marry anyone whose parentage was pure, meaning that both parents were upstanding members of the Jewish community.
The other thing that needs to be understood is that social status was hereditary. That means every child born of a shetukhi would also be classified a shetukhi. It would be like passing down a hereditary medical condition. Most members of this class did not marry in order not to perpetuate the stigma. Many were dedicated or married to God instead.
This is why we see Jesus hanging out with the fringes of society. He himself was considered a type of second class citizen by Jewish Law. He understood what it was like to be different and because of this, he developed the capacity to see everyone as worthy of understanding and caring.