The modern name of the Son of God, as known in the community of Christians, is Jesus. However, due to the many translations that the Bible has undergone over centuries, the real name of Jesus is not Jesus, but rather some other ancient name which differs from one region to another.
The name is a variant on the name Jehoshua. This name, which dates to the Jewish exile centuries before Jesus was born, evolved to Jeshua, and then to Jesus. The name of Jesus has stuck as the modern name by which his devotees call to him.
Many devotees believe that when people call out to Jesus, they are worshiping the wrong person, as the name is Yeshua or Joshua and not Jesus. For example, Messianic Jews believe in worshiping Yeshua instead of Jesus.
Although there are many versions of the name of the Lord, the Bible says that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord is saved by him. Anyone who calls on the Lord intending to call out to his true self is saved by him. The difference in the names arises due to translations and the forms of names that are used in different communities.
The name of Christ was not given by his mother or father. The name was given as commanded by the Heavens. The name of Christ was not unique, and other people had the name of Joshua or Yeshua.
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Around the second century AD, the name Yeshua or Joshua was very common among the Jews, and other children were born with the same name. Therefore, in many Biblical texts, the name of Jesus has been termed the Jesus of Nazareth to distinguish him from others of the same. Jesus of Nazareth, therefore, was born among humans who had similar names.
Why was Jesus given this Particular Name?
According to the Biblical texts, the name of Jesus had a distinct historical and etymological background. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name of the great Israelite leader Joshua, the son of Nun.
The parents of Jesus called him Hoshea or O’Shea in this tradition. Joshua succeeded Moses as the servant of the Lord. Joshua brought Israel to the promised land as promised to Abraham, and was a key historical hero for the Hebrews.
Etymologically, when Jesus or Joshua is broken down, it means “Lord is Salvation” and by inference that He will save anyone from damnation. The scriptures refer to God and the son of God by this name because it is he alone who will save everyone and protect the people from the evil of the world.
Generally, translating religious text and going solely by etymological meaning is discouraged because the purpose of the name matters more. However, in the Bible, it is written that you shall call his name Jesus and for he shall save his people from Sins.
Thus, the name Jesus in any of its forms, means the Saviour. Jesus does not just protect the people from physical and material danger; he also saves the people from spiritual evil and takes them closer to God.
The Greek phrase in the Bible, that he shall save as quoted by Matthew, shows that he and he alone can save the people from evils and worldly problems. The translation of Jesus into the Savior shows that he is the one who will save people and deliver them to God’s grace. Salvation is not to be sought in any other form of God or any other person.
The Meanings behind Jesus’s Name
The name Jesus identifies Christ as the human servant of God who shows the path to God for people. The name speaks of the divine omnipotence that Christ has and is an indication of the favor he will show believers as much as an arbitrary name. Though Jesus is a human name, its translation and use suggest that in the form of Jesus, God has come to the people.
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There have been many opinions about the name of Jesus. Many people believe that the true name of Jesus is Yeshua or Joshua. Some Christians believe that the name is an error, and calling out to Jesus is like calling Christ by the name of the Greek God Zeus.
While the name Zeus and Jesus have some similarities in how they are pronounced, the name Jesus does not have any connection with Zeus. The name Zeus is connected to a completely different culture and way of worship.
The real name of Jesus is Yeshua in the Hebrew. The English spelling of the word goes from Jesus to Joshua. This also means that both Jesus and Joshua are valid names of Christ.
Is it really important to call Jesus Yeshua for accuracy? Since these names are translation subjects and have a religious sentiment linked with them, the object of worship does not change even though the names change due to translation. People can refer to Jesus by different names and titles, but as long as the feelings and purpose are the same, the Lord answers.
The Lord looks at the desperation in the voice of the devotee and the reason why he is calling. As long as the intent of remembrance is intact and right, the differences in the name do not matter. Plus, you know, he is all-knowing so he should clearly understand the intent, even if the name is a mistake.
The rigidity attached to His name is not right because his name changes over different cultures and historical texts. Rigidity to Jesus Christ or Yeshua takes away the reason for his worship and the actual meaning hidden behind his name.
How the name is translated and what comes out of it does not matter to Christians, as long as the names lead them to salvation. Even the same name has different pronunciations in different areas and places depending on the dialect.
Top Image: “Jesus” is a Greek version of a Hebrew name, but there are several contenders for what Jesus was actually called in his lifetime. Source: Thomas Bathas / Public Domain.
By Bipin Dimri