He named Him Yeshua, short for Yehoshua, which means "The Lord Saves."
Read it here in Matthew 1 (text in parentheses mine):
20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus (Yehoshua in the Orthodox Jewish Bible), because He will save His people from their sins.”
Yehoshua is transliterated as "Iesous" in the Greek, and IESVS in Latin, from which we get the English word, "Jesus."
In John 19:19-20, we read:
19 Pilate also had a sign lettered and put on the cross. The inscription was:
JESUS THE NAZARENE
THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20 Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
The sign on the cross would have had Jesus' name spelled out as IESVS-IESOUS-YEHSHUS (Latin, Greek, Hebrew).
Jesus was known as Yeshua in the Hebrew, and Iesous in the Greek.
Eesa, on the other hand, is said to be the Arabic for "Esau," which means "hairy" in Hebrew. "Eesa" means nothing in Arabic. There is no meaning or definition whatsoever for the name "Eesa" in Arabic.
I think it is certainly curious that Muhammad would choose to replace Jesus' name, Yehoshua, "The Lord Saves," with another name which means absolutely nothing, especially in our context.
This after YHWH had taken such pains to make sure that the world got the message that this Child was going to be unlike any other. For example:
- the virgin birth
- signs in the heavens preceded and attended His coming
- angels appeared to shepherds
- prophets spoke at His dedication at the Temple
- He did miracles such as had never been seen on earth then and since
- He rose from the dead on His own power after three days, just as He had prophesied
As it turns out, however, Muhammad got the name Eesa from manuscripts which are not a part of the Christian Bible called the Gnostic Gospels, which is a collection of false teachings written hundreds of years after Jesus' return to heaven.
This is a huge problem for Islam because the Gnostic Gospels' Isa is a person who is far removed from the real Jesus of the Bible.
- the real Jesus of the Bible never killed anyone, much less children. But the Gnostic Isa did.
- the real Jesus of the Bible never did any miracles just for show. But the Gnostic Isa did.
- the real Jesus of the Bible never cursed people or made them blind. But the Gnostic Isa did.
The real Jesus of the Bible gives life. He doesn't take it.
The real Jesus of the Bible is humble and meek. He's not proud or boastful.
The real Jesus of the Bible heals others. He doesn't harm them.
More on the false Jesus, the "Isa" of Muhammad and the Gnostic Gospels, in a future article!