The Name of Jesus or Yeshua?


I had a great conversation on Facebook the other day, regarding the name of Jesus. Amado and I were talking about Messianic Judaism and specifically how many refer to Jesus as Yeshua.

They do have a point. Jesus isn’t really his name (and Christ certainly isn’t his last name, but that’s perhaps another post).

Jesus is actually an Anglicization (English version) of the Greek name Iesous. And Iesous is a Hellenization (Greek version) of the Hebrew name Yeshua.

Yeshua is a very special name meaning “salvation of Yahweh” or “Yahweh is salvation.” And the person we refer to as Joshua actually bears the same name. Yeshua is almost certainly Jesus’ true name that he went by during his time on earth.

This is all interesting information that can help us to appreciate the heritage behind the name Jesus was given. However, some people take it too far.

There are those who refuse to refer to Jesus by any name other than Yeshua, and some even claim that you can’t really be saved unless you call specifically on the name of Yeshua. This is a problem.

God inspired the authors of the New Testament to write in Greek. Thus, Peter’s statement that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, ESV) was actually recorded using the Greek name Iesous, even though Peter’s original speech used the name Yeshua. And when John wrote “that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23, ESV), he used the name Iesous.

Does this mean that Iesous is actually the one name we must call on to be saved? Of course not. Salvation comes through faith in the person of Jesus Christ, not through any special pronunciation of his name.

The Bible is clear that Jesus’ blood was shed for “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, ESV). And when the disciples were speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost, I’m pretty sure they used a different version of Jesus’ name for each different language they spoke.

It’s wonderful to know about Jesus’ original name. And those who wish to refer to him as Yeshua are free to do so. But those who wish to call on him according to their own native languages are every bit as entitled.