Since Jesus was the ideal and model man, it is easy to wonder why He did not marry and father children during His earthly life. As a hard-working and skilled carpenter, a man with a magnetically good character and winsome personality, and with His years of fame and miracle-working, it is likely that more than one woman gave Him opportunity to marry.
No Scripture directly answers the question of why Jesus never married. Several possibilities have been suggested to explain Jesus’ singleness:
1. Jesus did not marry because He had limited time on earth. His strenuous travel and demanding work load would have prevented Him from rightly fulfilling the roles of husband and father. And a wife would have been a distraction to Jesus’ primary mission. A married Jesus would have had to place His wife’s needs above those of the world He came to rescue (see 1 Corinthians 7:32–35).
2. For three years, Jesus lived as a homeless healer-teacher (Luke 9:58). He would not have asked any woman to share such a life. While He now waits for His marriage to His betrothed Bride, the Church, He is preparing for her a heavenly home (John 14:2–3), readying for her a perfect and eternal place of protection.
3. Jesus knew that He had come to die (Isaiah 52:13–53:12; 1 Peter 1:19–20; Luke 18:31–33). If He married, He certainly would leave a widow, probably with small children to rear alone. He was incapable of deliberately causing such unnecessary pain.
4. If Jesus had married, His widow most likely would have been glamorized, idolized, deified, and likely physically endangered because of her relationship with Jesus.
5. Another reason that Jesus didn’t marry is likely that He did not wish to produce a blood successor or generate debate over who that successor would be or whether or not His successor should also be considered the “Son of God.” Jesus’ purpose was not to establish an earthly kingdom or a dynasty (see John 18:36).
6. Jesus did not marry because of His uniqueness. In his History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff writes, “Jesus’ poverty and celibacy have nothing to do with asceticism, but represent, on the one hand the condescension of His redeeming love, and on the other His ideal uniqueness and His absolutely peculiar relation to the whole church, which alone is fit or worthy to be His bride. No single daughter of Eve could have been an equal partner of the Savior of mankind, or the representative head of the new creation” (Vol. III, p. 68). Schaff goes on to explain, “While Jesus was fully human, and therefore fully capable of perfectly fulfilling all aspects of marriage, He also was fully divine. Therefore, no one with only a human nature could be a suitable mate for Him.”
7. Jesus did not marry because He was not on earth to choose one woman above all others. He came to rescue and restore all who would receive Him. For Jesus to form a marital relationship with one woman would inevitably have confused generations to come about the meaning of His relationship with His spiritual Bride, the Church, to whom He was already betrothed (Ephesians 5:25–27; Revelation 19:7–10; 21:9; 22:17; 2 Corinthians 11:2). Jesus reserved Himself for His true, eternal Bride. If He had picked one woman to elevate above all others, He would have contradicted and undermined His ministry to all.
8. In human marriage, husband and wife become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). If the divine Jesus, who knew no sin, married a sinful woman (“for all have sinned,” Romans 3:23), His relationship to His wife would have raised some confusing uncertainties. If Jesus had become “one flesh” with a sinner, would that connection have tainted Him with sin? If they had had children, what kind of nature would these children have had? As physical children of the Son of God, what kind of relationships would they have had to God the Father?
These ideas reinforce the New Testament’s descriptions of Jesus as the ideal Man, the only purely righteous and good One who clearly and consistently pointed to eternity. Jesus did not marry because human marriage was not necessary to His mission of saving the world. Although marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:31–32), it is only a temporary state in light of eternity. Those who by God’s grace through faith are included in that Bride of Christ have every reason to anticipate with eagerness Jesus’ coming to receive them into greater glory and joy than they ever have known on earth.