Jesus and Jesus

Changing the language of a word does not affect the meaning of the word. We call a bound and covered set of pages a “book.” In German, it becomes a buch. In Spanish, it is a libro; in French, a livre. The language changes, but the object itself does not. As Shakespeare said, “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” (Romeo and Juliet, II:i). In the same way, we can refer to Jesus as “Jesus,” “Yeshua,” or “YehSou” (Cantonese) without changing His nature. In any language, His name means “The Lord Is Salvation.”

As for the controversy over the letter J, it is much ado about nothing. It is true that the languages in which the Bible was written had no letter J. But that doesn’t mean the Bible never refers to “Jerusalem.” And it doesn’t mean we cannot use the spelling “Jesus.” If a person speaks and reads English, it is acceptable for him to spell things in an English fashion. Spellings can change even within a language: Americans write “Savior,” while the British write “Saviour.” The addition of a u (or its subtraction, depending on your point of view) has nothing to do with whom we’re talking about. Jesus is the Savior, and He is the Saviour. Jesus and Yeshuah and Iesus are all referring to the same Person.

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