Focus on Jesus Series
by Ed Vasicek
Understanding our Bible sometimes requires delving into three languages: our language (English), the language of the Old Testament and the Jews (Hebrew or the related Aramaic), and the language of the New Testament (Greek).
When studying the life of Christ, it is important to remember that Christ spoke Hebrew (or Aramaic—the matter is debated). The New Testament authors translated His statements into Greek. Bible scholars and linguists, in turn, translate the Greek into English. The epistles were originally written in Greek, but the sayings of the Gospels were spoken in Hebrew/Aramaic and then translated into Greek. With that intro, we can now “dive into” the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
God has many titles in Scripture but one name, “Yahweh.” In our versions it is translated as: “LORD” or “GOD” and is distinct from “Lord” or “God.” “Yahweh” has been anglicized into “Jehovah,” but the name “Yahweh” is the actual name by which He identifies Himself. Yahweh means “I AM WHO I AM,” the self-existent One.
Jesus is the anglicized name for the Greek translation, “Ιησυs” pronounced (yae-soos); but the Greek is a translation from the Hebrew, “Yeshua,” which is what you would have actually heard Jesus called when He walked this earth.
Yeshua is a variation on the name Yehoshua (Joshua); both names mean “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh is the Savior.” “Yeshua” (or Jesus) was a fairly common name among first century Jews.
God’s name is “Yahweh.” When God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, His chosen name was “Yeshua.” Jesus is Yahweh in the flesh. He possesses two natures: He is both Son of God AND Son of Man. His humanity had a beginning in Mary’s womb; His deity (God-ness) has always been. The human nature of Jesus had a beginning, but the Son of God (His divine nature) has always existed.
We refer to Jesus as the “Christ.” We can say, “Jesus the Christ,” or “Jesus Christ” or “Christ Jesus.” Christ is not a name but a title. It is the Greek translation (Christos or “Χριστοs”) of the Hebrew “Messiah,” meaning “The Anointed One.” Kings were typically anointed with oil as part of their initiation ceremony; this anointing also symbolized the Holy Spirit. The “Christ,” therefore, is God’s anointed King to whom He gives the Holy Spirit without limit. So there we have it, “Messiah Yeshua,” the anointed King, empowered by the Spirit who brings Yahweh’s salvation to mankind. He is God. He is Man. He is Yahweh Himself.
Highland Park Church