[I'm starting to suspect that my teammates want you all to get so nauseatingly sick of me that you'll beg them to replace me with Rob Bell or someone. Sorry. So anyway, here you go, one more oh-so-bumpable post.]
I think we Anglos—and I do speak anecdotally here, not by scientific survey—tend to be surprised at Hispanics' willingness to name their children "Jesus." I'm not making a judgment here, truly I'm not; I'm just saying that it's a bit jarring. We don't do it, don't tend to conceive of doing it.
Of course, in our Lord's day it was a common name. We're really giving essentially the same name when we dub our kids "Joshua," of which Ἰησοῦς, Iēsous, is the Greek equivalent whence eventually we get "Jesus." As you know by now, the name Ἰησοῦς refers to more than one character in the NT.
But since His life, the name has taken on a special significance, as He certainly is and will remain the most conspicuous to bear it.
I won't make any comment about the pretentious insistence of some Americans (!) on ostentatiously saying Yeshua instead of Jesus, except to say that we do not have even one inspired instance of our Lord being addressed thus. If it is replied, "Same for 'Jesus,'" my surrejoinder would be, "Then why mess with it, except to call attention to oneself?"
Having said that....
Of course, "Jesus" is not a magical name, as some religious superstition has made it.
That point couldn't be made more tartly than in the kind-of-funny, kind-of-scary narrative of Acts 19:13-17—
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?" 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.However, it is a powerful name, because of who owns it.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)And now, having said all that:
Given whose it is, and who we denote by it, shouldn't we at least not rush it, when we say it?
I suppose I'm not the only parent to try to correct his children non-legalistically, when they come to use "in Jesus' name" as if it's just another way of saying "I'm done praying and want to start eating." When I've heard "injeecenameamen," I've said, "You know, 'Jesus' is the most important name you and I know. It's worth saying, and not rushing." And so I've tried to teach them to say J-e-s-u-s. Not "Jeece."
I was thinking of this recently as I listened through a series of lectures by an author, who has published on a subject that interests me. (I will not identify him any further.) I came on some lectures on his subject, online. Since it's a subject of Biblical theology that is huge, and that I feel the need to grasp better (—which really doesn't narrow it down, much!), I burned some CD's and commenced drive-time listening.
A number of things bugged me about the lectures, and I didn't profit fractionally as much as I had hoped. He was very interested in his ideas and theme, and less so in exposition of actual Biblical texts.
But the little thing that just niggled at and irritated me was how he said "Jesus."
Now look, plesae do not misunderstand me. I honestly make no judgment about the man's spiritual health from this one thing. I attach no significance—beyond that it irritated me.
He said "Jeece." Again and again and again. All the other words were pronounced passably clearly. But "Jesus" was regularly slurred. "In Jeece' teaching..." — "where Jeece says..." — "and what Jeece did was..." — "the dithyrhambic, apothegmatic Weltanschauung enumerated in the parabolic discourses Jeece delivered...."
Okay, I made that last one up.
But I thought, "Dude, duuuude — it's 'Jesus.' You can say it, I know you can. Your audience will wait the extra fourteen nanoseconds it takes you to say 'Jesus.' Try them, I know they will!"
And now you know that.
As you were.
< /rant >