What Does ‘Jesus’ Mean?

I was told that the name of Jesus is special, and saying His name in a prayer means it will be answered. Is that true?

Anonymous GodWords Reader

No. There’s nothing about the name itself that makes it more likely that God will give you what you pray for. The word “Jesus” has no magical powers, and accomplishes nothing spiritually. It’s a name. In fact, it’s not even unique:

Yehoshua means ‘the Lord saves’, and is translated into English as Joshua.

Jesus’ Hebrew name is Yeshua, which is a shortened version of Yehoshua. Yeshua means ‘he will save’, and is translated into English as Joshua.

Yeshua translated into Greek is Iesous.

Iesous transliterated into Latin is Jesu.

Jesu became Jesus in English.

Jesus’ name is actually “Joshua”. There’s no special power in the name itself.

A translation conveys meaning, so Yeshua and Iesous mean the exact same thing. Jesus is not a translation, it’s a modernized Latin transLITERation of Iesous. A transliteration is simply a letter-for-letter switch: the letters in one language are swapped for letters in another language that make the same sounds. Jesu is a Latin word that sounds like the Greek Iesous. Jesus does not mean “Yahweh saves” or “the Lord saves” or even “He saves”. Despite the fact that Jesus Himself means a great deal to many people, there’s no English meaning to Jesus at all.

When the New Testament tells us to pray in Jesus’ name, it doesn’t teach us that the name itself is special. It tells us that the person is special. When an ambassador speaks to a foreign leader, he speaks “in the name of” – with the power and authority of – the one he represents. Jesus is an ambassador, speaking to the Father on our behalf…and speaking to us on behalf of the Father.

29 Comments

  • Heather says:

    How long did it take u to create “What
    Does

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Heather:

    Thanks for writing! Surprisingly, it only took

  • David Starr says:

    Wrong! There is power in The Name of Jesus!

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    David:

    Jesus, being God, has power. His name, however, does not. What you’re describing would be more accurately termed “magic”…saying His name and making something happen as a result.

    Such superstitions have no place in the life of a Christian.

  • Bonface Hanks says:

    God is love and there is power in the name of God!

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Bonface:

    Thanks for writing! You’re confused. The name of God doesn’t have any power of its own.

  • Jack says:

    If the name of Jesus means nothing and isn’t ‘special’, when why is it a sin to take that name in vain? When I got saved, the first thing the Holy Spirit told me was not to take Jesus’ name in vain anymore.

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Jack:

    If you’re going to argue, you should begin by addressing what I’ve actually written. I didn’t say that Jesus’ name isn’t special. I said that there’s no special power in His name that makes things happen when you say it out loud. That’s a superstition that has no basis in Scripture.

    If the Holy Spirit told you not to take Jesus’ name in vain, you should certainly obey Him. I wouldn’t use His name improperly, of course…but that includes more than not making it a swear word. It also includes not making up stories about how saying His name out loud makes spiritual things happen. If the mention of Jesus’ name gets stuff done, then it is WE who wield the power, not God. Do you believe that? I hope not.

  • zoe says:

    Yes jesus says ‘i am the way the truth and the life there is NO other way to the father accept through me’

  • Albert says:

    Um if Jesus, the one who saves or he will save, means this, then how can you say there is no power in it? He is the special one, the ambassador to the father. Then saying YHWH be praised haves no meaning it is only the name of the father. There is power in the name of Jesus. I say it in English and in Spanish it haves the same spelling. When you add Christ to the end of it, it’s the best name ever. It means I am calling on the one who saves or praying to the father in the name of his only perfect child who came to save us. Thank you father for sending him so I can make it to heaven. Are you kidding me? Jesus is the most powerful name on earth especially when you talking about the Christ. Wow this post is horrible, the bible even says to pray in his name but it don’t mean anything. You should also ask in his name too and it will be given onto you. Wow you need to get in with Jesus to understand how powerful that name really is.

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Albert:

    Thanks for visiting GodWords! You’re exactly right when you say “I am calling on the one who saves”. It’s GOD who has power…not the speaking of His name, but the person Himself. We pray, and God answers. You seem to be right on target there. Where so many go wrong is when they suggest that speaking Jesus’ name produces some special spiritual effect. It doesn’t. Jesus’ name isn’t a magic word. It’s His name, and we use it to refer to Him.

    This article was written because so many wrote to me and asked whether praying in Jesus’ name makes their prayer more likely to be answered “yes”. When I pray, I pray in Jesus’ name…but I don’t pretend that uttering His name will give me power, or change God’s mind about my request, or somehow automatically get me what I want.

  • albert says:

    I am saying your wrong. Everytime you talk about Jesus Christ there is power in that name. All you have to do is call it. I am saying you dont understand how calling that name is powerful. The person asked about praying in His name as well. Acts 2:21 (NIV) “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
    not anyone who doesn’t call.
    Phil 2:9-11

    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Yes, Albert…I understand that you disagree with me. I’m okay with that. Here’s what I’m not okay with: pretending that simply uttering the word “Jesus” does anything BY ITSELF. It doesn’t. That would mean that WE have the power to do things (like save ourselves). Instead, we know that GOD RESPONDS to our prayers. HE has the power.

    When people say that there’s power in Jesus’ name, they imply that the word ITSELF has power. It does not. Christians should know where the power is: it’s in God Himself, not in our ability to say a word out loud.

    Do you see the difference?

    Again: I pray in Jesus’ name. I take up my cross daily and follow Him. This isn’t about whether I’m a Christian. This is simply a matter of Biblical Christianity vs superstitious nonsense. If there were power in the name alone, we wouldn’t need God…just the name of His Son.

  • albert says:

    Wow ok we disagree but you would always need God and taking up your cross daily and putting on the armor of God is just as important as believing in God. Saying his name is powerful, it is not the whole thing though. I know Just yelling thank you Jesus is a part of worship. Being a Christian haves many different parts to it. You just don’t say I believe in Jesus and that’s it, you must believe in your heart and then confess with our tongue. We don’t say we gonna carry our cross and do everything opposite of what Christ is about. There is no magical powers because magic is of the devil, it is a falsehood. But power and the miracles that go along with it is not an illusion of God it is real. Your saying there is no power in it but you answered the question wrong. There is great power in the name of Jesus because it depends how and whom you talking about. If you call on him there is power if you calling that Spanish Kid down the street then there is no power. God knows when you say His name as the calling on him or if the other.

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Albert:

    Thanks again. It’s clear that you want me to understand your point of view. I believe I do. I consider you a brother in Christ, and appreciate your input.

    >> There is great power in the name of Jesus because it depends how and whom you talking about. If you call on him there is power if you calling that Spanish Kid down the street then there is no power.

    You’re EXACTLY right, kind of. Calling on the name of that Spanish kid down the street does nothing because that Spanish kid has no spiritual power of his own. Calling on God does something because God has the power to accomplish anything He chooses. It’s not the name that has power…it’s the PERSON. Here are a couple of questions:

    1. Do you believe that praying to God in Jesus’ name will ALWAYS get you a YES answer to your prayer?

    2. Do you believe that an unbeliever who wishes for a trillion dollars, and makes that wish “in Jesus’ name”, will get what he wants?

    I’m betting the answer to both questions is NO. Why? Because you know that saying Jesus’ name doesn’t automatically get you what you want. THAT is what I’m saying. Jesus is powerful…we agree on that. Saying His name – by itself – gets you nothing.

    Does that make sense?

  • Amen says:

    Tony Scialdone, thank you for making this distinction between the name of the man Jesus and spiritual power in the authority of God that Jesus had based on his Christ-hood.

    It seems like the confusion is with the word “name.” To pray “in the name of Jesus” means to vocalize your request on the authority and attainment that Jesus demonstrated by becoming the Christ of God. If one has not achieved this level of spiritual evolution of their soul then they have no power to reach heaven in their prayers. Case in point is Act 19 when a jewish excorcist assumed that he could mimic Paul by invoking the name of Jesus to cast out demons. The demon said, I don’t know or recognize your authority.” So the name which indicates authority is the critical issue in the effacacy of your prayers.

    If the literal name of Jesus as an identify of a person was the issue then any Hispanic child named Jesus would bring goodies.

    Furthermore someone used the quote in John 14:6 and Phillipians 2:5-11 as a proof against your argument. One should carefully read these text again. When Jesus says, I am the way, the truth and the life no one comes to the father except through me” I read this as saying “I AM is the way,the truth and the life, you can’t connect with the Father until you have attained God consciousness. I AM is a unique term used throughout the gospel of John which speaks of a state of consciousness which we all can attain as Jesus did through his passion and resurrection (Phil. 3:10,11).

    Secondly, if one reads Philippians 2:5-11 it outlines the state of consciousness (mind)that Jesus achieved through his incarnation, which we all must attain, i.e., Christ consciousness. In verse 9, it is stated that Jesus was given a name above every name. Again if Jesus was named Jesus by his parents at birth, then what is Paul talking about here? Obviously, God did not name Jesus, Jesus as a result of his passion and resurrection. He already had that name. God bestowed upon him an AUTHORITY. This also is every soul’s potential to attain, if we do the spiritual work.

    Thanks again Tony for the information.

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Dear “Amen”:

    We agree that baptism is not required for salvation. I especially appreciate your comments regarding ‘name’. Parts of your comment concern me, though…like this:

    >> I AM is a unique term used throughout the gospel of John which speaks of a state of consciousness which we all can attain as Jesus did through his passion and resurrection (Phil. 3:10,11).

    I don’t know where you heard this, but it isn’t in any way a proper understanding of Scripture. “I AM” is a direct reference to God’s use of the phrase. When Moses asked God what to say when Pharaoh asked who sent him, God said to tell Pharaoh “I AM”. Jesus’ use of the phrase was a direct reference to His own deity. There’s nothing in Scripture that support the notion of ‘christ-consciousness’. This is a metaphysical term popularized by folks like Deepak Chopra that has nothing to do with Biblical Christianity.

    We do not evolve into christ-consciousness. We may be transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit and become more like Christ, of course…but they’re two very different things. What you refer to is a mixture of different religious thoughts with the Bible, and they simply don’t go together. Let me know if you have questions.

  • Steve says:

    Tony S. is a bit confused. Spiritually speaking, “using” someone’s name means to invoke the authority of the person with that name. Hence, there is power in Jesus name, because he is the Word of God.(Matthew 28:18) The legalistic argument that Jesus name is not Jesus himself is a limited understanding of words and their affects. See the book, “The Power of Your Words: How God Can Bless Your Life Through the Words You Speak.”

    How powerful is Jesus name? Well, it can cast out demons.

    Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons…”

    Demons not only fear Jesus, of course, they even fear his very name! Such powerful creatures over us, they cower in fear upon hearing His name. Ha ha! Note that Jesus says that they (the disciples themselves) will cast out demons. He does not say that He (Jesus) will cast out the demons when called upon. Hence the authority to cast out demons is given to all Christians who do it in Jesus name. I’d say that name has real power indeed!

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Steve:

    Let me recommend that you rethink your position. There’s nothing in Scripture that suggests that speaking someone’s name does anything. There’s nothing to suggest that speaking IN someone’s name does anything either. When someone speaks in the name of another, like an ambassador who speaks for a king or a nation, nothing happens. There is no power in the words themselves, and no power in speaking them out loud. The power is GOD’S POWER, and only He wields it. When we pray, we’re not doing something…we’re asking God to do something.

  • LC says:

    Christ’s name is NOT Joshua.. This is a complete fallacy. His name is ‘Savior’ in hebrew which is ‘Yashaya’ — Jesus, Iesus, and any derivative leading to Joshua is just wrong.

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    LC: references, please. You don’t expect us to just believe you without doing our own homework, do you?

  • Believr says:

    If I were a delegate who told you I came from Nazareth but the name they call it is El Nazaria, I would still hold the same delegated authorities.

    His name translated, to any Christian believer who knows Jesus, is a reference to Him that is the Son of God.
    If a man and the inspired bible said to me you have not called on my name yet that is why your prayers were not heard, and I began to pray in His name and observe answered prayers when according to His will, I have every reason to believe Him.

  • Bob John Ayebale says:

    Hey!!! hold on! Do not be quick to say all that stuff when you have not seen what scriptures say; Have you read Philippians 2:9-11 …9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
    What does this proverb mean Prov. 18:21 21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

    Please do not say anything in your own understanding but seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and He will revile unto you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

    Jesus said that when we pray ask for the Holy Spirit and God Will give you the Holy Spirit. He is a just God.
    Thank you

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Believr:

    You make a good point. A delegate (or, more commonly, an ambassador) represents someone else…regardless of the language one uses. Because of that, we can know with certainty that praying in the name of Jesus does nothing more than praying in the name of Yeshua, or Jesùs, or Jezu, or Iesous, or Gesù. It’s not the word itself that carries authority…it’s the Person whom we represent that has authority, and He has given to us some of that authority.

    In other words: praying in Jesus’ name isn’t a magic formula that has power in itself.

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Bob:

    I find it interesting that you’re quick to suggest that I’m unfamiliar with the Scriptures, and that we disagree on this topic because I’m “speaking in my own understanding”. These are common tricks that some people use to add strength to their point of view.

    That won’t work here.

    What works here is a logically sound argument, using Scripture, presented with gentleness and respect.

    Yes, I’m familiar with Philippians 2. The Greek word for “bow” is KAMPTO. Paul used the word in the subjunctive mood. That means that the bowing involved in that passage may or may not occur, depending on the circumstances. The implication is that every knee SHOULD bow, but might not. Your unfamiliarity with Philippians 2 has led to you use it in a way that the author did not intend.

    As for Proverbs, we must be careful. It’s easy to misuse proverbs and make them say things they really don’t say. For example, Proverbs 3:2 says that remembering Wisdom’s teaching “will prolong your life many years”. Is that a promise from God? Of course not. It’s a general statement, not a theological one. Your use of Proverbs 18:21 is problematic. Look at the very next verse:

    “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”

    Contrast that with this 1 Corinthians 7:8…

    “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried as I do.”

    Which is it, Bob? Should some stay unmarried, as Paul taught, or find a wife, which is good, and receive favor from God?

    I would avoid making strong theological statements from Proverbs. I know that many do this, but that doesn’t make it a wise practice. Remembering Wisdom’s teaching won’t prolong anyone’s life by healing childhood cancer, for example…and while the words we speak do have an effect on us and on those around us, they do not actually have the power of life and death. If you doubt, try using your words to bring a dead person life. That doesn’t work physically or spiritually, does it?

    The point here is simple: Jesus, being God, has power. When we pray in Jesus’ name, He may or may not grant us what we ask for. Using Jesus’ name in a prayer does not make it more likely that we will get what we want.

  • kutlo says:

    Mıne ıs a questıon that may brıng some lıght to those who oppose what tony ıs sayıng,but ı also desıre that tony u may answer ıf possıble.Questıon ıs ıf Hıs name,that ıs Jesus,has power;just Hıs name,then are you not at fault,because the nameJesus wasnt or ısnt hıs real name,ıts a translated name from hıs orıgınal Hebrew name,shouldnt you be callıng Hım wıth Hıs orıgınal name?thıs to test those who oppose?because the name Yehoshua was translated by those who were translatıng the fırst wrıttn forms whıch were wrıtten ın Hebrew

  • The African says:

    Writer! how foolish are you!

  • Tony Scialdone says:

    Dear The African:

    Thanks for being so kind. In what way am I foolish? Was it by suggesting that speaking Jesus’ name in a prayer doesn’t guarantee that you will get your wish? Was it by suggesting that the words and the prayers have no power of their own, but only God has the power? Please, be specific. Thanks.

  • Tsholofelo says:

    No one really knows the really Power behind the Name ,Jesus Christ, Romans 11 verse 8.so let us allow God Himself to reveal the truth, John 16 verse 13, lets stop with the assumption of this world.The secret lies in Jesus Himself.we are His creation so let us give Him some respect for Heaven sake.

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