What Is Jesus' Real Name?

Why do we call him Jesus if his real name is Yeshua?

Jesus' Real Name
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Some Christian groups including Messianic Judaism (Jews who accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah) believe Jesus' real name is Yeshua. Members of this and other religious movements have argued that we worship the wrong Savior if we do not call Christ by his Hebrew name, Yeshua. Strange as it may sound, some Christians believe using the name of Jesus is akin to calling on the pagan name of Zeus.

Jesus' Real Name

Indeed, Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus. It means "Yahweh [the Lord] is Salvation." The English spelling of Yeshua is “Joshua.” However, when translated from Hebrew into the Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, the name Yeshua becomes Iēsous. The English spelling for Iēsous is “Jesus.”

This means Joshua and Jesus are the same names. One name is translated from Hebrew into English, the other from Greek into English. It is interesting to note, the names "Joshua" and "Isaiah" are essentially the same names as Yeshua in Hebrew. They mean "Savior" and "the salvation of the Lord."

Must we call Jesus Yeshua? GotQuestions.org gives a practical illustration to answer the question:

"In German, our English word for book is 'buch.' In Spanish, it becomes a 'libro;' in French, a 'livre.' The language changes, but the object itself does not. In the same way, we can refer to Jesus as 'Jesus,' 'Yeshua,' or 'YehSou' (Cantonese), without changing His nature. In any language, His name means 'the Lord is Salvation.'"

Those who argue and insist we call Jesus Christ by his correct name, Yeshua, are concerning themselves with trivial matters that are not essential to salvation.

English speakers call him Jesus, with a "J" that sounds like "gee." Portuguese speakers call him Jesus, but with a "J" that sounds like "geh," and Spanish speakers call him Jesus, with a "J" that sounds like "hey." Which one of these pronunciations is the correct one? All of them, of course, in their own language.

The Connection Between Jesus and Zeus

Plain and simple, there is no connection between the name of Jesus and Zeus. This ridiculous theory is fabricated (urban legend) and has been circulating around the internet along with vast amounts of other weird and misleading misinformation.

More than One Jesus in the Bible

Other people named Jesus are mentioned in the Bible. Jesus Barabbas (often called just Barabbas) was the name of the prisoner Pilate released instead of Jesus:

So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (Matthew 27:17, NIV)

In the genealogy of Jesus, an ancestor of Christ is called Jesus (Joshua) in Luke 3:29. And, as already mentioned, there is Joshua of the Old Testament.

In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul mentioned a Jewish companion in prison named Jesus whose surname was Justus:

... and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. (Colossians 4:11, ESV)

Are You Worshiping the Wrong Savior?

The Bible doesn't give preeminence to one language (or translation) over another. We are not commanded to call upon the name of the Lord exclusively in Hebrew. Neither does it matter how we pronounce his name. 

Acts 2:21 says, "And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (ESV). God knows who calls upon his name, whether they do so in English, Portuguese, Spanish, or Hebrew. Jesus Christ is still the same Lord and Savior.

Matt Slick at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry sums it up like this:

"Some say that if we don't pronounce Jesus' name properly ... then we are in sin and serving a false god; but that accusation cannot be made from Scripture.  It is not the pronunciation of a word that makes us Christian or not.  It is receiving the Messiah, God in flesh, by faith that makes us a Christian."

So, go ahead, boldly call on the name of Jesus. The power in his name comes not from how you pronounce it, but from the person who bears that name--our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.