As I scanned the news this morning, one of the headlines which caught my attention was about the papyrus fragment on which is written, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…” When the news about this fragment first broke in 2012, it set off a firestorm of criticism. Today’s headlines highlighted the results of research finding that, in all likelihood, the fragment is ancient and not a modern forgery.
All of this makes me smile.
I am sure that for historians finding and authenticating any scrap of ancient papyrus is a big deal, especially if it mentions Jesus or some other famous figure. But, religiously, does it really matter?
I don’t think so.
What difference does it make whether or not Jesus was married?
Would it in any way change the impact of what he said or what he did?
Would it make what he taught like:
Love your enemies.
Or, pray for those who mistreat you?
Or, treat others as you would like to be treated?
Or, blessed are the peacemakers…
Any less powerful or challenging?
Or, his example of including the outsider or touching and talking to those who were ill, would it make those actions a less powerful witness when, in our world today, so many are still outsiders and so many are still excluded and so many are still not welcomed at the table.
And maybe people of other faith traditions as well,
Spend so much time worrying and arguing about the trivial
That we forget what is really the most important.