Summary: This message deals with the Da Vinci Code’s lies about Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene and having fathered a child with her.
DAN BROWN’S CLAIMS: “Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. They had a child. After Jesus’ death, Mary fled to France. Today, there are physical descendants of Jesus’ bloodline.”
- The Da Vinci Code makes some wild assertions here. Brown claims that after Jesus’ death Mary fled to France in the wake of great pressure from the male disciples who wanted to twist what Jesus had taught and who Jesus was to their own liking. Mary, her marriage to Jesus, and their child posed threats to all that, so they threatened her into fleeing. Because of all this, unto this day there are physical descendants of Jesus through that French bloodline. Brown argues that all this, of course, was covered up by the church.
- Before I turn to the larger point in play here, I want to note that Brown claims from the Gospel of Phillip his historical backing for Jesus being married. There are a few problems there. First of all, the Gospel of Phillip is a Gnostic text that is widely considered by scholars to have been written at least a century after the canonical gospels. So it’s not authoritative. Second, even that debunked book does not refer to Jesus having married Mary Magdalene, but simply states that he kissed her. The word used does not even denote a romantic kiss, but denotes something more like a kiss on the cheek or forehead. Third, there are no references in the New Testament or even among the Gnostic writings to Jesus being married. Nowhere is it even hinted at. Nowhere is the idea put forward by any of the early church fathers.
- In other words, this is fiction without even the pretext of a shred of historical evidence.
- Let’s move, though, to the larger issue that is in question here. At first you may not see the relevance, but hopefully I can explain it.
THE BIBLICAL IDEA IN QUESTION: “Jesus died on a Friday and was alive again on a Sunday.”
- What does this have to do with Jesus being married and Mary fleeing to France?
- Simply this: Dan Brown’s argument presumes that Jesus died and stayed dead. In the wake of His absence, there were power struggles to define His legacy and to claim His name. In this case, Brown claims, the struggle was between Jesus’ disciples and Jesus’ wife. It is Jesus’ absence from the scene because of His death (and lack of resurrection) that sets that stage for this conspiracy.
- It’s not going to be a shock to you for me to say that I believe that Jesus died on a Friday and was alive again on a Sunday, but I want to look at the evidence for this historical claim so that we can understand just how weak Brown’s claim really is.
1. Jesus predicted it.
- Jesus predicted His death and subsequent resurrection.
- Although they are recorded in other gospels as well, here in Mark we have the example of Jesus telling His disciples again and again: “Here’s the point of why I came: I’m going to die and then come back again.”
- Jesus was not a helpless victim of bloodthirsty mobs; He chose to go to the cross. And He knew ahead of time that this was coming.
2. There was a huge change in the disciples’ behavior.
- When the soldiers come to seize Jesus, the disciples quickly flee, at least one of them naked (Mark 14:50-52). Further, after His death, the disciples can be found cowering behind locked doors (John 20:19) for “fear of the Jews.”
- Just a few days later, though, we see Peter and the rest of the disciples standing boldly in the marketplace proclaiming that Jesus is Lord (Acts 2:14-39).
- The obvious question is: what happened in the meantime?
- Most people continue to act in the same way that they always have unless something dramatic happens to them. The dramatic thing that happened to the disciples is that they saw Jesus, who had been dead, alive again. And it changed them from cowardice to courage.
3. Believing Brown requires you to believe that all the disciples willingly died agonizingly painful deaths (without renouncing Jesus) for what they knew was a lie.
- Let’s presume for a second that the disciples did make up the whole thing. That would be fine for a week or two, but are we to believe that all of those disciples spent the rest of their lives spreading a message (at huge personal sacrifice) that they knew to be a lie? And further, that even when they were being tortured to death (as several of them were) that none of them ever renounced this fabrication?