by Tad Lindley
Many people are constantly puzzled by this one haunting thought that comes, in some cases nightly, when they are trying to sleep, other times it blurts out of their mouth when they awake in the morning, weary from trying to figure it out, “Where did Jesus get his Y chromosome?” Well, my friend, get ready to sleep easy, because I am about to answer that very question.
Almost all humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes in the nucleus of every cell in their body. Each of those 23 pairs has one chromosome from the mother and one from the dad. A person’s sex is determined by that 23rd pair. You always get an X chromosome from your mother (that’s all a woman can give to her eggs), but men can give their children either an X or a Y. If you ended up with an X from your mom and an X from your dad, you are a female. On the other hand, if the sperm that fertilized the egg that became you had a Y chromosome, then you are an XY, and therefore a man. XX = female, XY = male. It doesn’t matter what clothes I wear or what I legally change my name to or what plastic surgeons do to me, if you ask any cell in my body, the DNA tells you that I am a man.
Why care about the Y?
My Y chromosome came from my dad, and he got his from his dad, who got it from my great-grandfather. Further generations back, a Lindley carried his DNA across the ocean from Ireland and then further back to Britain to a village named Lindley, and we lose the trail there. All of the men in my line share the same Y chromosome. The other chromosomes get shuffled randomly at each generation, but the Y is what makes us men and since there is only one copy per cell, it cannot get shuffled. More importantly the Y chromosome that has been passed down is almost identical (it changes very slightly from generation to generation), so whoever my distant grandfather was in the village of Lindley 400 or so years ago, my Y chromosome is nearly the same as his as to all of his other male descendants (and there must be hundreds or thousands of us). Interestingly about 16 million men alive today in Asia share the same Y chromosome. These are all thought to be distant grandsons of the Mongolian Emperor, Genghis Kahn.
Moses’s Y chromosome (this is crazy)
Moses got his Y chromosome from his dad, Amram. His brother, Aaron, also had that same Y chromosome. It turns out that, although they didn’t know it at the time, Aaron’s Y chromosome had a peculiar repeating series of genetic code in it, the “Aaronic gene marker”. We don’t know what became of Moses’ sons and their descendants, but we do know what became of Aaron’s sons, they became priests. And their sons became priests. In fact if you know a Jewish man alive today with the last name of Cohen or Kahn or something similar (based on the Hebrew word for priest, Kohanim) they are descended from the priestly line of Aaron and have that gene marker. There are even some Ethiopian Jews who have the Aaronic gene marker from priests that traveled back and forth to Africa.
But what about Jesus’ Y chromosome?
A prophecy was given through Isaiah (7:14) that said, Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. We know this to have been fulfilled in about 3 BC. A woman named Mary who was a poor descendant of King David got a visit from an angel. He informed her she would be giving birth to the Messiah (Luke 1:26-33). Then Mary said unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing that I know not a man?” In blunter, more modern terms she was saying, “I have never had sex with a man, so where would the Y chromosome come from?”
Fair question, Mary
Where did Jesus’ Y chromosome come from? Mary only had X chromosomes. The angel, however, was a step ahead of her and already knew the answer to this: And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35) So at some point shortly thereafter, God created the Y chromosome and the 22 others that would have come from a human father and inserted them into Mary’s egg, and the Son of God was begotten.
So now, friend, you know where Jesus’ Y chromosome came from!
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.