When Cultures Collide
Q: My dad is a pastor and since coming upon the the name of Yeshua, he no longer uses the name Jesus. Is he wrong? He is up against other pastors that are telling him he is wrong to do this. What do you think?
A: This is a very sensitive subject. I would say that it all depends on your dad’s motives and attitude. “Yeshua” is the Master’s name, not “Jesus,” however, if your dad is using “Yeshua” in a passive-aggressive, rebellious way to thumb his nose at the Christian establishment, then I would say it’s inappropriate. But if your dad has a strong conviction to use the Master’s given name, and he is doing it as part of an effort to restore Yeshua to His proper Jewish context, then it is probably okay. It just depends. Even if your dad’s heart is right, it may still result in confrontation and challenges from his peers.
It should go without saying that while I personally find it awkward to use “Jesus” in a Messianic Jewish context, there is nothing wrong with the name “Jesus” per se–especially when used by a Christian pastor in a Christian setting. Linguistically, “Jesus” is a thrice-removed derivation of “Yeshua,” but it is nevertheless referring to same person (the name “Jesus” is not derived from or related to “Zeus,” as some internet “teachers” ridiculously claim). Granted, the Christian/Gentile “Jesus” that is often presented in Christianity bears only a little resemblance to the historical Yeshua, and the Christian/Gentile “Jesus” often represents a religion that is unlike the faith of the Scriptures, but this is not enough to allow the usage (or non-usage) of the English name “Jesus” alone to form a wedge between believers. Such conflict ought not to be over something as superficial and cosmetic as “Jesus” versus “Yeshua,” but should be reserved for the theological, ideological and Scriptural differences of the opposing faith-systems that the two names have come to represent.
I am sure there are more details that you have not mentioned. Every situation is different, and requires wisdom to prevail. If we can be of further assistance, especially if we can help to arbitrate between these leaders, please let us know.
Shalom Mr. Geoffrey,
I agree with your comments. It is interesting to note that when others “argue” about Yeshua vs Yashua, etc, that they often fail to remember that for 2000 years, the name “Jesus” has healed the sick and raised the dead!
I have found that there is an inital enthusiasm when discovering the beauty and strength of the name Yeshua, but later God’s wisdom takes over, and a more considerate use of the name takes place, depending on the audience listening. Although I am a Messianic Gentile and not a Messianic Jew, I sometimes deliberately use a mixture of the names Jesus/Yeshua when I am regularly meeting with the same group of Christians so that they may be educated (nicely) on such uniquenesses of our Hebrew roots.
Irwin Ross, Australia