Footnote: I have always found it intriguing how Paul writes, in I Corinthians 9, that Peter and James had wives and he did not, but nowhere in that debate does Paul indicate which side of the line Jesus would have fallen on.
I think that is because Paul did not conceive of Jesus as a model for every category of human behavior. This is part of the intent of his statement that "Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer." Paul sees a definitive break in our perception of Jesus pre- and post-resurrection. While the suffering and humility of Jesus represents for Paul that very fundamental pattern for the Christian life, he does not think of Jesus' personal characteristics as binding on the believer given his unique role in redemption history. For Paul, taking or not taking a wife is a pragmatic question related to one's calling.
Even if the papyrus was authentic, I fail to see how the speculative notion of Jesus being married affects the doctrine of Christ's divinity or the claims of the gospel one iota.
This is not simply a question of Jesus' divinity, it is also a matter of the titles Jesus accepted as descriptions of his ministry. Can one imagine a married Messiah? Well, given that Jewish tradition speaks of Messiah as the restorer of the Davidic lineage, then there is expectation that Messiah is one that will take a wife. Bar Kokhba, who was married and had children, was accepted as Messiah by no less than Rabbi Akiva during the 135 CE revolt.
So it would not have been contradictory for Jesus to have considered himself Messiah and
take a wife. However, what happens in the gospels is that we see Jesus accepting the title of Messiah, fully knowing that he would be the one that would reveal to the nation that their Messianic expectation was flawed. Messiah would come to suffer on behalf of the people, rather than rule in immediate glory. What would have been very odd for Jesus is if he had taken a wife knowing that his life would end early in such a tragic way.
This whole Jesus being married thing is not simply a theological issue, it is a narrative issue. A married Jesus just doesn't make any sense, as it would have been very much out of character with everything we know about his early self-perception and the increasing reference to suffering and death we see in his teaching.
Edited by M. Leary, 20 September 2012 - 12:21 PM.