“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31)
This verse is taken from Luke’s version of the Christmas story. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and gave her the news that she was going to have a son. The end of the verse in ESV reads, “and you shall call His name Jesus.”
Of course, Gabriel wasn’t speaking English. He spoke to Mary in her own language, which was most likely Aramaic, a language similar to Hebrew. So what Gabriel said out loud was not that Mary should call her child Jesus (His English name), but Yeshua.
So Jesus’ name in His native language was Yeshua. In school, He wrote Yeshua on His homework. When He was out and about, if someone asked Him what His name was, He would reply with, “Yeshua.” When someone called out to Him in a crowd, they said, “Hey, Yeshua!” That was His name.
Now there’s nothing wrong with calling Him Jesus. That’s His English name, after all, which comes from the Greek pronounciation Iēsous (imagine a rough “h” at the beginning of the word). I am personally fond of the name Jesus. It sets Him apart from other people who share His Hebrew name, like the Old Testament ruler Joshua. Plus, I think it’s just a cool name.
But something gets lost when we translate Jesus’ name from Hebrew to English. In the Bible, the meaning of a person’s name tells us a lot about who that person is, and Jesus is no exception. I think Christians would do well to examine the meaning of Jesus’ name in its original language and take it to heart.
The name Yeshua is made up of two parts that are based on words in the Hebrew language. “Ye” is short for Yahweh, the name of God, and is usually translated “the Lord.” And “shua” means “to deliver” or “to save.” So when you put these two parts together, Jesus’ name literally means, “The Lord saves.”
You see, when you say the name “Jesus,” you’re doing more than just referring to someone, even though that Someone is the most important someone in history. When you say the name of Jesus, you are making a bold statement. Whether you know it or not, you’re proclaiming to the world, “My God saves!” And that’s pretty incredible.
We worship the most incredible, most holy, most awesome Being in the universe. We worship a God who loved us enough to come to earth and die just so we could have a relationship with Him. We worship a God whose very name is a statement of His power and of His love for us. Jesus! What a name!
So the next time you’re praying or singing a praise song or even just talking about Jesus, remember what exactly you’re saying when you say His name. When you’re struggling with something and you just can’t find the words, simply say His name. Say Jesus. Because His name is powerful. His name is inpsiring. Jesus! Our God saves. Praise God!