Question was asked: Where did Jesus say that celibacy was better than marriage?
Matthew 19:1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said,‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them,“Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
So, Jesus and Paul both put celibacy above marriage. Whoever gets married, does a good thing, and the marriage bed is to be respected as holy. But holy does not make it the best thing. The sacrifices on the altar in the Old Testament were holy, but the altar made it holy, not the sacrifices themselves, etc etc.
My own beloved Lutheran church spat on the Catholics for saying everyone was called to celibacy in the clergy, for dictating to conscience etc, and then turned right around and dictated to everyone’s consciences exactly the other way around.
St. Paul states that a married man’s first concern is his wife, and God second, but the single man is free to put God first. Jesus didn’t lecture on it so much. He lived it. Even though many of his disciples were married, he remained single in a life dedicated to God.
But Jesus clearly states here that some people cannot bear the burden, and implicitly (as St. Paul says outright) if you cannot be celibate, be married. Fornication (sex before marriage), prostitution, adultery (sex outside of marriage), homosexual acts, bestiality, prostitution, and incest are all banned. in one place or another If you cannot be celibate, marriage is God’s road for sure. Those who marry rather than live sinful lives do a good thing. Those who can live without marriage, dedicated to God, do a better one. But neither is to pass judgment on the other, as we are all equal in Christ.
That’s my best summary on the matter. It is delivered with some passion as “He’s single? What’s wrong with him?” is a default reaction in American churches.
1] Jesus is what’s wrong with me.
2] I’m a sinful human being. That’s what’s wrong with me.
3] I’m going against my culture to follow Christ, since going with my culture left me headed straight for hell.