The Meaning of the Name of Jesus

Names Have Meanings

The name JESUS written in vintage lead letterpress type.What is in a name?  Why are names so important?  A name is a word or set of words by which we are called and as parents, we spend countless hours trying to come up with the perfect name for our children.  Why?  Because names are how we become known.  They are how we are recognized, acknowledged and could even speak to our uniqueness.   Names are deeper than just words, they have meanings; they stand for something significant.  Take my daughter’s name Alexandra for example.  She is called Alex, people acknowledge her by that name, but her name means “defender of men.”

Have you ever thought about the name of our Savior?  Why is he acknowledged as Jesus?  According to Luke, God gave specific instructions to Mary, saying “You are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.”  God gave the same specific instructions to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

God Saves

When you look up the meaning of the name Jesus, you will see it means “salvation” or “God saves.”  As believers, we understand Jesus is the Son of God who came to save people from their sins, but does His name mean more than just what we read in John 3:16?  If you look up Jesus’ name in Hebrew, (Yeshua), you will find is a description so remarkable, so profound, it will leave you in awe.  The meaning of His name leaves no doubt as to who Jesus is and what He came to earth to fulfill.  There is a narrative to be told within the name, and we are about to uncover it.

Hebrew Name Yeshua

Graphic Cross with various names of Jesus written in the form of the cross.Before we dissect the Hebrew name Yeshua, you must understand one key element about Hebrew.  Each individual Hebrew letter has a meaning, it signifies and stands for something.  This concept is radically different from our English language.  In English the letter “P” has no meaning on its own, it doesn’t stand for anything.  In order to have meaning and significance, English letters must be combined together to form a word.  This is not the case with Hebrew.  Therefore, when Hebrew letters are put together to form words, the meaning and significance of each word seemingly so rich they almost tell their own stories.

Four Hebrew letters make up the name Jesus, or Yeshua.  Those letters are ישון  Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin. The first letter, Yod means presence of God.  Shin, the second letter means complete; whole, entire.  Vav represents hook or peg; the joining of heaven to earth; and the last letter Ayin signifies to see; eye; by extension to understand and obey.

Now let’s put it all together.  Yeshua—the name given by the Father to the Son, means the Jesus is the presence of God who completes the Trinity.  He came to save the entire earth, the whole of mankind, and it is through Jesus redemption is found and completed.  He is the One who serves as a hook, joining heaven to earth and man to the divine.  Only through Jesus can one see the truth and come to complete understanding and obedience.  He is the eye by which we truly see.

Yes, the name by which our Savior is called, means “salvation,” because deep within the layers of His name a testimony is rooted.   Our glorious God was so precise in the naming of His Son, there can be no doubt as to who Jesus was and still is.  The meaning of Jesus’ name is complex, yet amazingly simple; powerful and most importantly, unquestionable.  God the Father laid out His redemptive plan all within a single name, the name of Jesus.

“I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

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About the Author:

I have developed a deep passion for the culture and customs of Biblical times, and it is my heart’s desire to teach others about the symbolism hidden within pages of God’s Word. I love to seek out and focus on the “little things,” that when discovered, become more like God-sized treasures. I truly believe the deeper our understanding is of the Old, the more relevant God becomes in the New.