This past week I was asked, “Which is correct, Jesus or Yeshua?” The question came from a person who had been told by certain Messianic zealots—again, Gentiles rather than Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua—that the only correct name to use for Messiah is Yeshua “because that’s His Hebrew name.” There are of course many other arguments proposed by these zealots, including numerous additional reasons for not using the name Jesus. The uneducated nonsense they offer up as fact serves only to muddy the waters further. Therefore I will not include them here. Suffice to say, if we set out to find fault with others, we will find it in the place where hatred dines upon waning reason.
We know from the Scriptures and by following the etymology of names, using as our source the original languages, that Jesus is simply the anglicized form of the Greek Ἰησοῦς (pronounced; ee-ay-sooce): this being the Greek equivalent of Joshua, which in Hebrew is pronounced Y’hoshua—not Yeshua. It is therefore ludicrous to suggest that Yeshua—the Hebrew word for salvation—is the only way to say His name. Yeshua means “salvation,” Y’hoshua, “The L-rd Saves.” The writers of the New Testament/Brit ha-chaddasha chose the Greek Ἰησοῦς to represent their Jewish King Messiah. Surely this offers more than enough evidence for using the Greek Eeaysooce? The Hebrew Y’hoshua also makes sense given the fact that Yeshua is a Jew. If these two are acceptable then why not translations of the name into other languages—“is He G-d of the Jews only? Is He not also the G-d of the nations? Yes, of the nations as well!” (Romans 3:29) Further to this we must add that the Jewish desire for Messiah was and is just that, a desire for Messiah--Mishiyach—the affirmation of the name “The L-rd Saves.” Hence Y’hoshua ha-mashiyach.
Regarding experience: if like myself you have seen people delivered from demonic entities at the sound of the name of Jesus Christ, then reality will be your teacher alongside Scripture and reason, revealing that His name carry’s authority in every language. It is of utmost importance that He be known as the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the Universe however even in my writing this I need not say it in Ivrit—Hebrew—in order for it to be true.
I could articulate numerous arguments in favor of calling our Messiah by the names given Him in the many languages of the nations, but I will not waste my time further on the futile pursuit of attacking the name supremacy movement that breeds like a cancer among us. His name is Yeshua, Y’hoshua, Eeaysooce, Jesus, Yesu, Issa and so on. In the final summation the Scripture makes it clear:
“At the name of Jesus, (or any of the other aforementioned translations) every knee shall bow and every language confess… that, ‘Jesus Christ is L-rd!’” Philippians 2:10-11
If He doesn't have a name in every language, how will every person from every nation on earth confess Him as L-rd in their own tongue?
Regardless of the way we pronounce His name, it is our belief in the person of Yeshua that allows us to carry His name within us.
So, “should I call Him Jesus or Yeshua?” The answer of course is “Yes!”
© 2013 Yaakov Brown
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.