Jesus wasn’t married in Cana

Last updated on March 12, 2018

Mormon leaders Orson Hyde and Joseph F. Smith taught that Jesus was married at the “wedding at Cana in Galilee” in John 2.1 This is a foolish interpretation for at least ten reasons:

1. John introduces the wedding with a kind of “there happened to be” kind of attitude: “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee.” (John 2:1)

2. “And the mother of Jesus was there.” (2:1b) If this was Jesus’ own wedding this statement seems unnecessary.

3. “Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.” (2:2) This is an odd way to speak of someone’s own wedding. “Jesus, you also are invited to your own wedding. Please RSVP and bring fish.”

4. When the wine ran out Mary tells Jesus, “They have no wine.” (2:3) Not, “We ran out of wine.” Their wedding, not his.

5. Jesus responds, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” (2:4) It was neither his wedding nor his time to burst onto the scene.

6. When the “master of the feast” tastes the good stuff (the miracle wine), he addresses the bridegroom and celebrates. But John (the narrator) seems to speak of this bridegroom in verses 2:9-10 as someone other than Jesus.

7. After the wedding Jesus takes off with his mom and brothers and disciples. “After [the wedding] he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.” (John 2:12) Is this how Jesus, the perfect man, treats his new wife?

Reasons outside of John 2:

8. On the cross Jesus instructs John to take care of his mother: “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26) No such provision is made for his supposed wife or wives.

9. In Matthew 12:46-50 Jesus reorients the family, not around household life or blood or the nuclear unit, but around unity in doing the will of the Father. All those who do the will of the Father are his mother and brothers. This new, broad, wide, inclusive kingdom family outlasts the nuclear family (Matthew 22:30), which the gospel may even break apart in this life (Matthew 10:34-39).

10. In Matthew 19:11-12 Jesus speaks of celibate singlehood (the life of a “eunuch”) as preferable to marriage.

I hope this encourages you to look closely at the text of Scripture. You don’t need to be a scholar to test these kinds of claims.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)


Further reading