Question: Why Do We Call Him Jesus if His Name is Yeshua?
A reader asks:
Jewish people say that our Lord Jesus' real Hebrew name is Yeshua. If it is true, then why are people worshiping him in the wrong name?
The reader is not the first person to ask this question. Some religious movements have argued that we worship the wrong Savior if we do not call him by his Hebrew name, Yeshua.
He is correct in saying Yeshua is the Hebrew name for the Lord. It means "Yahweh [the Lord] is Salvation." The English spelling of Yeshua is “Joshua.” However, when translated from Hebrew into the Greek language, the name Yeshua becomes Iēsous. The English spelling for Iēsous is “Jesus.”
Basically, what this means is Joshua and Jesus are the same name. One is translated from Hebrew into English, the other from Greek into English. It is also 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."
GotQuestions.org gives this practical illustration:
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 by his correct name, Yeshua, are concerning themselves with trivial, non-essential matters. English speakers call him Jesus, with a "J" that sounds like "gee." Portuguese speakers call him Jesus, but with a "J" that sounds like "sjeh," 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 Bible doesn't give preeminence to one language (or translation) over another. We are not commanded to call upon the name of the Lord in Hebrew only. Acts 2:21 says, "But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." God knows who calls upon his name, whether they do so in English, Portuguese, Spanish, or Hebrew. He is still the same Lord and Savior.