Jesus – The Name That Is Not The Name
Part of my journey out of Christianity actually started many years ago. One day it dawned on me that Jesus’ name, was not really Jesus. I mean, his mother and father and apostles and disciples never called him Jesus. Upon discovering that his family was Jewish I wondered what they actually named their son…the one Christians call Jesus. The Greek manuscripts of the NT record his name as Iesus.
In researching the matter, I realized that no one knew for sure what Jesus’ name really was. Was it Greek – Iesus, or Hebrew Yeshua or Yehoshua? Then I discovered that the name Yehoshua from the OT was translated as Joshua. This made me wonder, why didn’t the English translations translate Iesus as Joshua instead of Jesus. Now there may be perfectly good reasons for this, but for me it began to feel like someone was deliberately creating a a sense of separateness between the OT and the NT.
In my many hours of study I could never find consensus amongst scholars on what language Jesus’ family would have been speaking in Hellenized Galilee. Yes, there are opinions…but that is exactly what they are. The best and oldest NT manuscripts of the Gospels are written in Greek – therefore can we assume his family was speaking the Greek language? Not exactly…but we cannot rule it out either.
Then I realized that this problem was more serious and far reaching than just knowing what Jesus name really was – there was a bigger issue - If the angel told Joseph that Mary’s son would be named Iesus – because he will save his people from sin – then Houston we have a problem – because I don’t think Iesus means salvation in Greek…Now I could be wrong, but certainly not in the same way that Yehoshua or Yeshua are actually Hebrew words that mean salvation (it’s a little more complicated than that, but suffice to say – there is a 1:1 relationship between these Hebrew names and the Hebrew word salvation)
My studies led me to understand that the name Yehoshua actually means – YHVH saves! Which makes matters worse (or better as the case may be). If in fact Jesus name really was Yehoshua, that name actually points us back to exactly what Tanakh teaches – YHVH is Savior and there is no other. GLORY!
This was a long time ago, but I just brushed my thoughts and concerns under the theological rug until there was so much hiding under the rug…I could not ignore it any longer.
What about you? What are some of the questions you brushed/or are brushing under the theological rug? Leave your comments below...