The media is in a frenzy today over a business-card-size fragment of papyrus purportedly from the Fourth Century. This fragment, so they would have us believe, will cause great turmoil and debate within the Christian Church. Why? Because it’s the first evidence that Jesus was married!
Let’s take a step back… The fragment comes from a time period when many heresies had been and were being introduced to pure Christian teaching (much like our day). This is the time period in which a group called the Arians tried to prove that Jesus was merely a man—that He was not also God. It’s the time period in which the Church was in such turmoil that a great council was called in Nicaea. Out of that council came the Nicene Creed, which clearly shows the divinity of Christ.
So, will this tiny fragment, probably from a group known for introducing false teachings in early Christianity, cause all of modern Christianity to reexamine what we believe about Jesus and what we believe about marriage (including, according to at least one major network, what we teach about homosexual “marriage”)? Nope.
Is the fragment interesting? Sure! Anything that old is interesting! And it is new evidence of the old heresies which plagued the Christian Church during that time period. But it doesn’t change the truth. It simply reinforces what the Apostle Paul writes, by inspiration, we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)
-Rev. Paul Fries