One of the unfortunate outcomes of Replacement Theology over the past two thousand years has been the separation between the Hebrew root of the Christian faith, and current modern terms and names. Believe it or not people haven’t always used the same current language and word’s we use today. An interesting aspect of the Hebrew language is that names are directly associated with the meaning. Lose the name and potentially lose some the meaning.
This article “Jesus Vs. Yeshua?”, published by One for Israel, addresses the actual Jewish name verses the current modern name for Jesus Christ. Remember that the actual letter “J” was not in use until nearly five hundred’s ago. (Perform a search on google to confirm). We hope that a review of this article will add to your current understanding of the biblical Jewish Messiah.
How did we end up calling him Jesus?
The name “Jesus” comes from the Greek way of expressing his name: Ἰησοῦς, which is pronounced “Yay-soos”. While we have an English version of the Hebrew name for Gabriel, we seem to have ended up with an English version of the Greek version of the Hebrew name for our Messiah, that doesn’t even sound close anymore. It makes him all the less recognisable to his Jewish brethren. Jesus just sounds so… gentile! But when Jewish people hear his name in Hebrew, quite often the lights go on. Ah! Yeshua! The name Yeshua was known and used in Jewish history – you can find men called Yeshua in the roll calls of teams serving in the temple (1 Chronicles 24:11, 2 Chronicles 31:15, Ezra 2:2,6,36). It’s a version of Joshua, and it means “salvation”. This makes much more sense to Jewish ears.
What should we call him then?
So now to the question, having established his real, Hebrew name, Yeshua – should we cease to call him Jesus?
It is true that his mother and friends called him Yeshua rather than Jesus, but if you know him as Jesus, does he mind that? Is it incorrect to call him Jesus? There are some who would argue till they’re blue in the face that it is critical to call him Yeshua and not Jesus, but Yeshua’s coming was also God’s time to take salvation to the gentiles. I believe that it was no accident that his name was disseminated in the international lingua-franca of the day: Greek. It was to go far and wide, to every nation on earth.