Jesus' Relatives - Could you be one of them?

 Is it possible for you, or anyone alive today, to be related to Jesus? While being a direct descendent of Jesus is not possible since He had no children, it is possible to be related to His immediate family. Some experts say it is actually highly probable many, if not all of us, are in fact related to Jesus.

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While Jesus had no children of His own, he did have siblings. The Bible tells us that Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully human, which means He had DNA, like every other human. This DNA would have been shared with His brothers and sisters through their common mother, Mary. This DNA, relationship, would have been passed down to any children of Jesus' siblings. One of the many unknowns of this is how many, if any, children these individuals had.

[There is an argument in popular fiction that Jesus did marry and did have children. This fiction is generally dismissed by most scholars. There is no Biblical or external evidence Jesus ever married, and certainly none that he had children.]

The odds improve with numbers and we know from the Bible that Jesus had four brothers and an unknown number of sisters. In Matthew 13:55 we learn about the brothers.

"Is this not the carpenter's son? Is His mother not called Mary, and His brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?" - Matthew 13:55

The names of Jesus' brothers are confirmed in another passage as are a number of sisters. Unfortunately we only know there were a number of sisters, but we are not given names, or a specific number.

Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are His sisters not here with us?" And they took offense at Him. - Mark 6:3

 In his book "Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins" author and researcher Steve Olson examines how family trees either expand with thousands or even millions of branches, or they peter out and die. In his research he found that if each couple had two children, and each of those children had two children, in just 250 years time the original two would have more than 1,000 descendants. In some cases the descendants fail to have children, are narrowed down and with a shrinking number of members, the family line simply ends. Olson found there are no other options. The family either dies out rather quickly, or it expands exponentially year after year. 

As the tree expands the members tend to spread out and become dispersed throughout the general population. After two or three millennia this dispersal becomes so extreme the descendants are literally related to everyone in the world. Olson explains a person who lived two to three thousand years ago is either related to everyone, or no one. The key is for the original two parents to eventually have four or five grandchildren. At this point there are enough descendants produced that even if there are some who have no children there are still enough descendants to continue the expansion of the family tree. 

Since we know Jesus had four brothers and a number of sisters, it seems highly likely Mary would have

had at least four or five grandchildren. With there being a proper number of offspring for the family line to continue, is it possible to confirm a relationship with Jesus.

The longest family tree that is known of belongs to Chinese Philosopher and Educator Confucius who lived from 551 to 479 B.C.  it is possible to trace his ancestry back to King Tang who lived from 1675 to 1646 B.C. This is a time span of nearly 1,200 years, or more than 80 generations that includes more than two million people.

[Generation - is generally considered to be 25 years in length.]

Obviously we have no DNA that can be directly tied to Jesus, or any of His siblings. Therefore any direct match is impossible. Tracing DNA back nearly two thousand years is currently beyond our ability. Most experts claim the limit for tracing DNA is 6 to 8 generations, or 150 to 200 years. Ancestry.com claims that in certain cases they can trace DNA back nearly 1,000 years. Regardless, with no sample to compare to, the best we can do is trace a person's DNA back to a certain region of the world.

[DNA - Deoxyribonucleic Acid - is hereditary material that is present in humans and most other organisms. In a human body, every single cell will have the same identical DNA.]

Most scholars believe Jesus was a living breathing human being who lived approximately 2,000 years ago. The Gospels are a written account of His life and teachings and were written between 30 and 60 years after His resurrection. These Gospels tell us Jesus has brothers and sisters and we can safely assume He therefore had a number of Nieces and Nephews. While Jesus had no direct descendants, his family tree, through his brothers and sisters, likely continues to this day. 

Jesus' family lived near ancient crossroads and given the persecution early Christians endured, it is reasonable to believe His family members spread out from this area either to escape the danger, to pursue an opportunity, or simply for adventure. Once this dispersion began the descendants would have been spread across Europe, Asia and Africa. The expansion would have continued as the European expansion spread around the world. 

Can anyone confirm scientifically they are a direct descendant of Jesus or His family? No, that is not possible. Given the laws of probability experts tell us it is highly likely Jesus' family line continues to the present day. More than this, it is highly probably that while it would be a very minor and distant relationship, we are all likely to be related to Jesus' family.

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