How the name Yahshua became Jesus

by Scott Nelson

The name, Yahshua

Did you know that if you could go back to the time of the twelve apostles, if you walked up to Peter and said, “Please, take me to see  Jesus Christ”, Peter would get a puzzled look on his face and say the equivalent of, “Who, or what is that?”  Did you know that no one who followed Jesus was capable of accurately pronouncing in English the name “Jesus”? The truth is, if you  could go back in time, Peter would probably say something more like, “Come, let me introduce you to  Y’shua the Messiah.”

When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was going to have a son and what the child’s name was to be, (Luke 1:31) the sound of the name that Mary heard come from Gabriel’s lips was very close to, if not exactly… “Yahushua” pronounced  Yah-hoo-shoo’-ah.  In modern Hebrew script, “Yahushua” looks like   and is read from right to left. This name is the blending of two Hebrew words. The first part, “Yah-hu”, is part of God’s name that is sometimes used at the beginning or end of a Hebrew name.  The second part of the Messiah’s name, “shua”, is the Hebrew word for deliverance meaning, “saves”.  The name “Yahushua” literally means God-saves The nameYahushua was then shortened for everyday use the same way a name like Barbara is often shortened to Barb (see the name parable), and the four syllable name Yahushua was shortened to three syllables, Yahshua. And in every day usage of the name, it came out even shorter and sounded like Y’shua.       

Today, to make Y’shua more English user-friendly, some Messianics have replaced the apostrophe with the letter “e” as a least pronounced vowel in the English language, rendering it as Yeshua. This version of the Messiah’s name is one that I used for some time as well. But because the “e” is almost always over-pronounced, sounding like one is beginning to say the word “yes”, and the emphasis wrongly placed on the second syllable, I now prefer to use the more correctly pronounced spelling of Yahshua. It is pronounced like “Joshua” with a “y”. The emphasis should remain with God’s name in the first syllable.