The name of Jesus is of course pronounced differently in different languages. Believers who speak English traditionally pronounce his name “Jesus”, while believers in China pronounce it with a different sound according to the Chinese language. Arabic-speaking believers might call him by the name “Isa.”
Recently there are English-speaking believers who now call the Messiah by his original Hebrew name “Yahushua” instead of “Jesus”—which is said to be based on “Iesous”, a Greek/Latin corruption of his original Hebrew name. (“Yahushua is the true name of the Messiah”)
Is there a preferred form or pronunciation of the Lord’s name? For example, is he more pleased when we address him by his Hebrew name “Yahushua” than by the perhaps less accurate name “Jesus”? Or is the Lord more apt to answer prayer when we lift it up in his name in Hebrew instead of some other language?
I think not. The important consideration is not the exact pronunciation of his name, but rather that we know him personally as our Lord and Savior and that he lives in us by his Spirit.
First let’s take a familiar illustration. Let’s say my legal name is Robert—my “real” name. However, my family members call me by my nickname “Bob.” Acquaintances outside of my family will call me by my formal name “Robert.” But it makes no difference to me whether those who know me call me “Bob” or “Robert.” I will respond immediately to those I know.
In the same way, if we have a personal relationship with the Lord as Scripture teaches, the exact form of the name by which we address him should not be a major consideration. If we feel obligated to address him by his name in the original Hebrew language because it seems to be more accurate, then by logical extension shouldn’t we also learn to pray in the Hebrew language as well? This kind of thinking carried to its logical end has led to the (formerly) required use of Latin in Roman Catholicism and in Islam the “sacred language of Arabic.” But the Way is different. We know the Lord not through a particular language, but by faith in him regardless of what language we speak.
In Acts 3 the Greek text tells us that Peter healed the lame beggar in front of the temple gate by faith in the name of “Jesus” or “Iesous” in Greek. (If Peter actually spoke the words in the local Aramaic dialect, we do not know exactly what form of the Name he used.) Here a very powerful miracle was performed in the name of “Jesus.”
We personally have seen many miraculous healings take place when authority is exercised in the name of “Jesus.” Many trained English-speaking disciples have also witnessed miracles when they minister healing in the name of “Jesus.”
Non-English-speaking disciples we have trained have also seen powerful miracles when they issue commands in the name of “Jesus” in their own native language whatever it might be.
Some servants of God in Indonesia when ministering healing to Muslims in the context of evangelism do not use the traditional Indonesian form “Yesus” but rather “Isa” which is the Lord’s name in the Arabic language. Miraculous healings continually take place in the name of Isa. Moreover, in 2013 when a dead woman was raised back to life before a crowd of Muslims in Indonesia, the more traditional name of “Yesus Kristus” (derived from “Jesus Christ”) was used by the trained disciples to perform the miracle.
And of course we have received testimonies of the sick being healed when precious believers like Tom Linebaugh minister in the name of “Yahshua.”
Perhaps most interesting is how Peter raised the dead woman Tabitha in Acts 9.
40 …Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.”
Notice that Peter—in whatever language he was speaking at that moment—did not even say the name of Jesus. Why? Because of Peter’s intimate relationship with the Lord, he did not need to say “in the name of Jesus” every time. It is not a mantra—as is the case in witchcraft and idol-worship—but a relationship. This is clear from the incident related in Acts 19 involving the seven sons of Sceva.
Acts 19:13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
Far more important of course then the exact form of the Lord’s name we use is our personal relationship with him. If we go beyond this, we might be inching toward legalism which could hurt our relationship with him.
Therefore whatever form of the Lord’s name with which we are comfortable—whether “Yahushua”, “Yahshua”, “Jesus”, “Yesus”, “Isa” or in whatever language we speak, let us be assured that he hears us. He lives in us by faith.