A friend of mine, a pretty good New Testament scholar in his own right, has commented on Facebook:
I agree with him, mostly. Certainly for Christians, the crucifixion of Jesus and then what happens on the third day is at the core of our proclamation of the "good news." We are an Easter people.
It is also true that as a first-century Jew, Jesus would have held marriage in high regard. I remember my own professor of New Testament saying in seminary that the argument from silence can cut in both directions, but that it would have been very unusual for a first-century Jewish male to NOT be married, and that if Jesus was not married it would more than likely have been mentioned. So, he concluded, he probably was. This was more than twenty-five years ago, so none of this is really "breaking news."
The only place I really disagree with my friend here, however, is that it at the very least re-frame not only questions about the practice of celibacy but about Christian marriage and even more especially about the full inclusion of women in the life of the Church. If Jesus was married (and if his wife was a disciple) then it definitely challenges the notion that only celibate males should be priests, as is still argued by some.
Professor King herself notes that this fragment does not "prove" that Jesus was married. And it is pretty unlikely at this stage that we will be able to uncover any solid evidence that would do so. But I think it's usefulness is more in inviting a conversation and in checking out the energy such a possibility generates within us, especially if we are practicing Christians.
What if Jesus was married? Does that anger us? Frighten us? Make us feel even more connected to his humanity? If he was married, how would that change our understanding of him? How might it challenge our understanding of marriage? And if the whole idea of this possibility offends us, what does that say?
As a married priest, I certainly am not offended or even surprised. I suppose that all things being equal I'd probably be glad to learn that he was, but that even if he wasn't it helps to remember in reading the Gospels that we are not reading a biography and most of his private life is not shared with us in any of the canonical Gospels. The focus is on his public ministry. And the cross.
And, of course, the resurrection.