Did Jesus Think About Having A Sexual Relationship?

by Roger Barrier

Dear Roger,

Did Jesus think about having a sexual relationship?

Sincerely, Fred

Dear Fred,

Did Jesus ever think about having a sexual relationship? Of course, He thought about it. In fact, like most men and boys, He thought about it a lot. I have read that most all adolescent males think about sex at least every fifteen minutes, or so. Jesus was once an adolescent. Jesus was fully man and fully God, so explore the following answer with me.

God has embedded the sexual drive deeply into the human psyche. God intended His earth to be well populated as evidenced by His command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:27: “Be fruitful and increase in number.” Sexual relationships are God’s method for “being fruitful and “filling the earth” with people. As a human being, just like us, Jesus dealt with sex issues constantly.

As far as I can tell, Fred, except for some false Gnostic writings in the late second and early third centuries which claimed that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, ours is the first generation to seriously consider the idea of Jesus having a sexual relationship. As far as I know, the subject of Jesus and sex in not discussed with any seriousness until our sex-crazed, humanistic society began stripping Jesus of His holiness, purity and deity in the middle of the 20th century. I really appreciate your asking this question. Many Christians today are wondering about how close Jesus came to eating the forbidden “apple”.

Much discussion focuses on whether or not Jesus was capable of sinning. After all, He was God. Could God sin? The obvious answer is, “No, God cannot sin. However, the answer is a little more complex than a simple “yes”, or “no”. I believe that the Biblical evidence makes it quite clear that not only was Jesus temped, He was fully capable of sinning and ruining the plan of redemption.

In Philippians 2:1-11 Paul composed a melodic poem which described Jesus taking seven steps down to humanity and the cross. Paul then described Christ’s seven-step exaltation back into Heaven to receive back His glory as fully God (beyond our understanding). In verse six Paul declared that in the process of abandoning Heaven, Jesus made Himself “nothing”. The Greek word “kenosis” literally means, “to empty one’s self”—whatever that means. Somehow or other He emptied Himself of some of His “godness” in order to put on “humanness.” He remained 100% God, but also became 100% man. This is called the “hypostatic union”. This doctrine is inscrutable.

I believe that His “emptying” Himself is what opened the door so that He could actually sin (for a more extended interpretation of this concept, read my “Ask Roger Answer” entitled, “Son God or son of man?”. In my mind, there is no way Jesus could fall into sin as fully God. On the other hand, He certainly could fall into sin in as fully human. After all, if Jesus could not sin, why would Satan bother to tempt Him at the commencement of His earthly ministry (Matthew 4 and Luke 4)?! Both gospel writers declared that temptation would follow Him all the days of His life.

Furthermore, in describing Jesus’ ministry as our great high priest, the writer to the Hebrews revealed that Jesus endured every temptation (including sexual temptations) that we face—without sinning: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). The term, “yet without sin,” obviously means that He was fully capable of falling into sin—but, HE DIDN’T.

Temptation is not a sin. Martin Luther wrote, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head; but, you certainly can keep them from nesting in your hair.” That’s good, isn’t it!?

Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard it said, ‘do not commit adultery’. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Let’s look carefully at what Jesus taught in light of Luther’s illustration. Looking at a woman and appreciating her beauty is not a sin. Perhaps even a moment’s imaging a sexual encounter is still not a sin. The sin occurs when we mentally and emotionally dwell upon one particular individual while imagining a drawn out sexual experience with him or her. Temptation has now evolved into lust. The sin occurs in the long-drawn-out visualizing, not in the thought which comes to mind for a fleeting moment.

Did Jesus think about having a sexual relationship? Certainly, He did. Both Satan and/or His own humanity occasionally guided the sexual temptation “bird” to fly over His head. However, according to the Hebrews passage mentioned above, He never allowed that bird to nest in His “hair”.

Tradition tells us that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who tempted Jesus (and obviously others) to have personal sexual relationship with her. “The Last Temptation of Christ”, a novel written by Nikos Kazantzakis, as well as other contemporary authors, have postulated that Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus cast seven demons (Luke 8:2), was His temptress, at least, and more probably His girl friend. Whatever lifestyle she lived before was dramatically changed by her spiritual encounter with Jesus. She became a devoted follower and financial contributor to His ministry who witnessed the crucifixion, prepared His body for burial and was the first to hear the good news of the resurrection!

So far, we have discussed the idea of Jesus having a sinful sexual relationship. We need to ask the question whether or not Jesus longed for a legitimate sexual relationship in a marriage context.

Since Jesus was like us, He experienced the internal-God-implanted-sexual drive to procreate and thus fulfill His Father’s command to be “fruitful and fill the whole earth”. This command applied only in a marriage context. Therefore, I believe that He considered marriage as a viable option for fulfilling God’s plan for His life.

The “Da Vinci Code”, a contemporary novel written by Dan Brown, imagines that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered children by her. He intertwines this concept with the legend of the “Holy Grail”.

Could Jesus have been married? Could He have had children? Some Christians have little difficulty answering “yes” to both questions. PERSONALLY, I HAVE DIFFICULTY SAYING “YES” TO EITHER QUESTION.

I believe that Jesus quickly dismissed any possibility of marrying and having children, His mission was to “bring many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10) not to marry and procreate.

Jesus made it clear that the “Son of Man came to seek and to save those who were Lost.” This God-inspired calling far outweighed the distraction and any possible fulfillment He might have gained from having His own wife and children. Would He have liked to be married? Probably. Were marriage and children included in God’s will for His life? Probably not.

Well, Fred, thanks for asking such an intriguing question. I hope my answer gives several provocative and helpful insights to you and others about the sexual life of Jesus.

Love, Roger

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