Thursday, January 27, 2011

Agnus Dei, was Jesus married?

Agnus Dei is a Latin term meaning Lamb of God, and was originally used to refer to Jesus Christ in his role of the perfect sacrificial offering that atones for the sins of humanity in Christian theology, harkening back to ancient Jewish Temple sacrifices. The phrase "Agnus Dei" refers to several uses of this title.

The Biblical significance of the title is rendered in the context of earlier lamb symbolism. The blood of the paschal lamb of the Old Testament protects and saves the Israelites in Exodus 12. This link is made explicit in 1 Corinthians 5:7. For Paul, Christians are saved by Christ as their true paschal lamb.

The Old Testament also testifies to the earlier practice of sin offerings as a possible means of atonement. Lambs could be used in these offerings (e.g. Leviticus 4:32-34 and Leviticus 5:6), and this link is strongly suggested by Gospel of John 1:29 and 1 Peter 1:19. Just as in Judaism sins could be forgiven through the offering and the pouring out of the blood of an "unblemished" lamb (cf. Leviticus 4:32), so Christians believe they can be freed from sin by the blood of Jesus, the unblemished Lamb of God. Those who reject the lamb of God atonement theology often say that blood cannot forgive sin and that Jesus taught us to remove our sins by repentance, love and forgiving others.

Lastly, Christians believe that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 refers to Jesus, although many identify the servant as Israel personified arguing that the identity of the servant has already been established by Isaiah in previously stated passages (Isaiah 41:8-9; Isaiah 44:1-2, Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 45:4; Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 49:3). According to Isaiah 53, the suffering servant remains silent "like a lamb led to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:7) and "gives his life as an offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10). Christians add that this link is explicit in Acts 8:32 and strengthens the idea of Jesus as a sin offering. Those who reject the Lamb of God Theology say that Isaiah 53 cannot be applied to the suffering servant for the servant in Is. 53 has children and Jesus was celibate. But was he?

There are increasing numbers of people who believe Mary Madeline was Jesus' bride and that in fact the "Holy Grail" is Christ's bloodline. It is all very interesting to think about, I think. I have come to think Jesus was probably married based on what I have researched partly because all rabbis of his generation were required to be married and he was called rabbi regularly and taught in the synagogue. It should also be noted here the early church leaders were not celibate nor were the original 12 disciples. Mary, Jesus' mother and Mary Madeline were the two people who remained at the cross during the crucifixion. Is it not seemingly obvious that the wife of Jesus and his mother would be there and comfort each other as family? Would an un married women be allowed to hang out with a bunch of men and with Jesus? Mary Madeline was more than likely included in the private gatherings of the disciples because she was Jesus' wife. It was Mary Madeline who was the first to see Jesus at the tomb. Would not the wife be the one most likely to go to the grave early? Let's not forget there is a blank space in the record that covers eighteen years in the life of Christ (from age 12 to 30). Those are the the years most people reproduce, are they not? Why does Jesus have to be unmarried for his message to be valid?. The fact is he did not have to be. Nowhere in the Gospels do the writers declare that Jesus did not have a wife.

If you listen closely to the words of Jesus they hold universal truths of love and acceptance and they give you a clear guide of how to live and how to not live. All the dogma and drama in the American Christian scene today is far from what He intended for us as his disciples on this earth. So much of organized Christianity is a religion based on the story of his life rather than on His teachings. That needs to change if the Church is to survive. The underlying thrust of all His message is love. In the Gospel of Mark you have it summed up -"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Samuel Barber: Agnus Dei (Adagio for strings)

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