The Da Vinci Code: 

Was Jesus Really Married to Mary Magdalene?

By Craig Bluemel


Let’s look at the simple facts, and prove if Dan Brown is right or wrong about Jesus’ alleged marriage to Mary Magdalene.  In the four gospels, Mary Magdalene is only mentioned in seven chapters, and 11 verses in Matthew 27:56, 61; 28:1; Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1, 9; Luke 8:2; 24:10; John 19:25; 20:1.  Notice, with the exception of Luke 8:2, that all of these verses are located toward the end of each book; the reason for this is that Mary Magdalene is only mentioned by name at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. 


This fact alone is more than ample to prove she could not have been married to Jesus, as Jesus was a Jew, and the record of family names, including wives and children was integral in their way of life.  For example, when Jesus was born, in many places the marriage of Joseph and Mary is mentioned in the gospels; also, the parents of John the Baptist, Zacharias and Elizabeth are record, and even the apostle Peter’s mother-in-law is mentioned (Matthew 8:14-16: Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41).


Jesus used marriage relationships in his teaching and likened the kingdom of God to various aspects of betrothal (in the Hebrew custom) and marriage.  In Matthew 19:3, the Pharisees tried to test Jesus, hoping to catch him in their rhetorical trap with questions about the legitimacy of divorce and how it relates to the Law of Moses.  After answering their questions, saying a man could not divorce (put away) his wife, save for the cause of fornication, his own disciples said to him in Matthew 19:10, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 


What follows the disciples’ statement is ironclad proof that Jesus was never married;


Matthew 19:11-12 But He said to them, " Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.  For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."  NASU


A eunuch was a man that did not have male reproductive organs (testicles) and was therefore unable to marry and have children.  Jesus says that some men are born in that condition, while others, such as slaves are, “made eunuchs by men.”  Slave traders or wealthy slave owners in those days often made male slaves into eunuchs that worked inside the house, which was usually done by castration, in order to prevent the male slaves from having sexual intercourse with the female slaves, and getting them pregnant. 


The third class of eunuchs are those who make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  This statement by Jesus refers to his unmarried status.  Though he is healthy and had has the same male desires that other Jewish men have, Jesus makes himself a spiritual eunuch by not getting married, so that his interests would be focused solely upon the course his Father, God, had provided.  The New Living Translation of Matthew 19:11-12, “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps.  Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made that way by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Let anyone who can, accept this statement.”


The apostle Paul echoes Jesus’ teaching about abstinence from marriage by certain men for the sake of God’s kingdom:


1 Corinthians 7: 7, 32-34 I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same.  God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness…  My desire is to have you free from all anxiety and distressing care. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord — how he may please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly matters — how he may please his wife — and he is drawn in diverging directions, his interests are divided and he is distracted from his devotion to God.  (NLT vs.7) Amplified Bible


There is much debate about Mary Magdalene and references to “Mary” in the synoptic gospels, and I choose to let the scholars with too much time on their hands debate the issue.  However, here I will examine the context of known mentions of her in these 11 verses, and show by this that misleading and false teachings of The Da Vinci Code.  The first and a very powerful proof is found in the context of John 19:25.  The scenario below takes place at Calvary; present were the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’ (i.e. – apostle John), Jesus’ mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  Note carefully what Jesus says to them in his final words:


John 19:25-29 Therefore the soldiers did these things.  But when Jesus then saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”  From that hour, the disciple took her into his own household.  After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”  NASU


If Jesus was indeed married to Mary Magdalene, his apparent lack of concern for her future well-being is not confirmed by his last words!  Instead, Jesus looks at his mother, in effect telling her that John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, would now be her son, and she his mother.  The text above verifies the fact that John took Jesus’ mother into his own household from that day forward. 


Any rational and logical human being can see there was no romance involved.  Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that The Da Vinci Code is correct, and Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.  Don’t you think he would have been the most loving husband and father ever?  You’d think he’d at least have given his alleged ‘wife’ the same care and thoughtful considerations that he gave to his mother would you?  


This is the first of many proofs that Jesus was not married at all; nor was Jesus the alleged father of Mary Magdalene’s children, whose descendents are professed by Brown to be alive somewhere in the world today.  Supposedly, these fleshly descendents of Jesus are being covertly hidden from view by some dastardly conspiracy in the Vatican.  I am not ‘pro-Roman Catholic Church’ for sure, nor do I agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church, but neither am I so logically absent as to give any credence to the wild musings about Jesus’ marriage fabricated in the fiction-based mind that authored The Da Vinci Code.


This facts above are further corroborated by the conversation Jesus has with Mary Magdalene after his resurrection, when he reveals himself to her in John 20:15-17.


John 20:15-18 Jesus said to her {Mary Magdalene}, “ Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to him in Hebrew, Rabboni!”  (Which means, ‘Teacher’).  Jesus said to her, Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.’”  Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that he had said these things to her.  NASU


Of all the New Testament passages that mention Mary Magdalene as one of the many women disciples that believed in and followed Jesus during his 3-½ year ministry, none is more poignant than the aforementioned above.  Does this look like a conversation between a husband and wife?  Would a loving husband first address his wife in clandestine manner by calling her, “Woman?”  Jesus does not address her as his wife or lover; he offers no affection to her, nor is his tone particularly endearing.  None of his mannerisms toward her are even remotely familiar and expected in a normal husband-wife relationship. 


Instead, he asks her, “ Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  If they were married, you’d expect Mary Magdalene to respond by saying, “I am looking for my husband and his name is Jesus of Nazareth; he was crucified and was buried here, but now his body is missing.  Oh please, please tell me where have they taken my husband’s body.  Please, our children need to visit the grave and say good-bye to him.”  Hmmm.  Dan Brown fictional novel is just another ploy for money, using people’s lust for the sensational as the vehicle to exploit their ignorance of scripture.


First, Mary doesn’t even recognize Jesus, which seems truly out of the ordinary, especially considering The Da Vinci Code claims she was his wife!  If that is not convincing to you, her response to Jesus after she knew he was not the ‘gardener’ is pretty hard to ignore!  Which one of you wives reading this article would call your husband, “sir?”  Again, there is no sign she has any romantic inclinations, because her response is to call Jesus, “Rabboni,” a venerable title that Jews gave only to their most esteemed rabbinical teachers.  It might be tantamount to calling your church minister, “pastor,” only with much greater esteem for his abilities to teach scripture and expound upon the text. 


Another point that proves Jesus is not married to her is the fact he does not reciprocate her affections.  Had they been married, as alleged in The Da Vinci Code, Jesus most certainly would have tried to console and reassure Mary Magdalene with a comforting hug, wouldn’t he?  Any loving husband would instinctively respond with an embrace to calm and soothe his distraught wife.  Instead, Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to me… but go to my brethren.” 


Finally, the last proof from John’s gospel is what she reports to the apostles and other disciples about Jesus’ resurrection; Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.”  If she had been married to Jesus, she would have told them, “I have seen my husband Jesus.”  In all of the gospel accounts that mention her, Mary Magdalene is never referred to or even recognized as the wife of Jesus. 


There are a few other scripture verses that mention her; Mark 16:9 is an account that is not listed among the 11 scripture verses that mention Mary Magdalene and Mark identifies her as the woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons.  However, reliable Bible translations do not accept this verse as genuine, as it is omitted in all of the earliest and the most credible Greek New Testament manuscripts.  In fact, Mark 16:9-20 is widely acknowledged as a spurious addition, due to the fact it only appears in one later date manuscript, and may have been added by the Roman Catholic Church.


Who is Mary Magdalene?


Below is a list of the eleven verses in the gospel accounts that mention Mary Magdalene by name.  Without exception, the period of time for these accounts is at the crucifixion, or the burial or resurrection of Jesus.  This is an important point, because if she was Jesus’ wife, and if she had children by him, as alleged in The Da Vinci Code, why don’t the four gospel records, the Book of Acts, or for that matter, the entire New Testament include Mary Magdalene in Jesus’ life?  Surely, the wife of the Messiah would be given more mention earlier in his life, especially by those who knew Jesus, and by those who were his closest friends and disciples.


Matthew 27:56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. NASU


Matthew 27:61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.  NASU


Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.  NASU


Mark 15:40 There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. NASU


Mark 15:47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.  NASU


Mark 16:1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. NASU


Luke 8:1-3 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God.  The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition


Luke 24:10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. NASU


John 19:25 Therefore the soldiers did these things.  But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  NASU


John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. NASU


John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her.  NASU


As anyone of average intelligence can see from these references, Mary Magdalene is one of many followers of Jesus as the Messiah.  She is mentioned as one from whom Jesus cast out seven demons, which would account for why she chose to follow him.  I encourage you that read this article to look up these aforementioned Bible verses, and see for yourself that she was simply one of Jesus’ acquaintances, and not his wife.  For example, below is the context and narrative just before the reference to Mary Magdalene in Luke 24:10, and you will see she was one of many of Jesus’ followers that witnessed his crucifixion.


Luke 23:46-49; 24:10 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Having said this, He breathed His last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent.”  48 And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts.  49 And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things…. 24:10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.  NASU


The Da Vinci Code is a fictional book and its author is little more than a con man that has capitalized on the popularity of his book.  Because his book is embraced as fact, and the television media fuels this hype, many people are being misled and deceived about Jesus Christ.  Mr. Brown has done little to discourage the promulgation of his fictitious writings, so as a teacher of scripture, I have little choice but to label him as a false teacher, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing, just as I would the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. 


I do not use this tactic ad hominem, because what is stated in scripture clearly disproves the basis for his book.  In reality, Jesus warned that men like him would arise and increase as we progress thru the last days.


Matthew 7:15 Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  NASU


In closing, we read Peter’s inspired words, a man who was among the three closest apostles to Jesus:


2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers  among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.  Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their  greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.  NASU





Related Article: Q & A Series– Questions about The Da Vinci Code and Jesus’ Human Identity




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