Did Jesus Have A Last Name?

By Charalampos •  Updated: 01/30/23 •  6 min read

All people in the world know the name Jesus Christ. However, many may ask the question what does this name mean?

Why was the savior named that way and does he have a last name? Keep reading to find out!

The Name Jesus

We call Him “Jesus,” and sometimes we refer to Him as “Jesus Christ” or just “Christ.” Some people mistakenly believe Christ is the surname of the Savior.

In fact, in ancient times, the most important thing was a person’s name.

The Gospel of Matthew tells of an angel who appeared to Joseph and told him to call him Yeshua, because “he will save his people from their sins.”

The fact is that Yeshua means “Yahweh is lordly”, but it can also mean the verb meaning “save” and the noun “salvation”.

Jesus’ real name is Yeshua. That’s what his contemporaries and relatives called him. Iesous is the Greek version of the name Yeshua.

The fact is that there is no letter “sh” in Greek, so it sounds different in translation. This name may sound different in different languages: Jesus, Isus, Iisus, and so on.

In Judea, this name was given in honor of the closest associate of Moses – Joshua. He was the head of the Jewish army immediately after fleeing Egypt, led the people to victory in the war for Canaan, and led the Jews after the death of Moses.

Full Name of Christ

Full Name of Christ

At that time, there were no surnames in ancient Judea, a person was called by his name, after which there was an indication of his father, mother, place of birth, or occupation. At the same time, one person could have many names, depending on the second part of the name.

Jesus also had many names. Since Jesus was adopted by Joseph, his name could sound like “Yeshua bar Joseph,” or Jesus son of Joseph.

In Semitic languages such as Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic a person’s last name refers to the father’s surname with the prefix bar, bet, or bin.

The prefix means ‘house’ or ‘house of’. But it wasn’t a surname in the modern sense of the word. By this people could only know who was the first in the genealogical line.

Jesus is often described as being from the House of David because of his ancestry: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” ( Matthew 1:1)

“Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. ” (Mark 10:47)

Jesus could also be called “Jesus, son of Mary” because of his mother, in much the same way that Peter was called “Simon, son of Jonah” in Matthew 16:17 and “James, son of Zebedee” in Mark 3:17.

Maria herself had a full name built on the same principle: since Mary’s father was called Joachim, she was called Mary of Joachim.

Jesus also called Simon Peter: «And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter)». John 1:42

These are not the only examples from the Bible of such names. Many people have been identified by who their fathers were: Levi, son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14), James, son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18) and Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus (Mark 10:46)

In his youth, Jesus was a carpenter and worked with his father, so it’s likely that some people called him by his occupation Jesus the Carpenter.

Sometimes people were distinguished depending on their town of birth or place of residence. Jesus was sometimes called “Jesus of Nazareth.” This is the place where Mary and Joseph lived after their return from Egypt, though Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

This caused some confusion as to whether Jesus could be the Messiah since people knew that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem and not from Nazareth, although another prophecy indicated that He would be called a Nazarene.

Both of Jesus’ names are mentioned in John 1:45: “Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

In the Bible, Jesus was often called “Jesus of Nazareth” (Luke 24:19; Mark 10:47; John 18:5). Among other people whose names were tied to their hometowns or native countries are Lucius of Cyrene (Acts 13:1), Mary Magdalene (Matthew 27: 56) and Judas Iscariot (Matthew 10:4).

Also in the last years of His life, Jesus began to preach, so he was often called a rabbi or teacher. 
Thus, people could always understand who they were talking about if they heard the name Rabbi Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus son of Joseph.

These names could be combined, for example, He could be called Yeshua ben Yosef haNotzri, which means Jesus son of Joseph of Nazareth, but more often Yeshua ben Yosef or Yeshua haNotzri.

The Title Christ

Jesus didn’t have a last name. Christ is the title that was given to Him.

This word comes from the Greek word “Christos“. It’s a translation of the Hebrew word “Meshiach”, which means Messiah. 

Messiah can be translated as “anointed one”. This word was commonly used to refer to the prophesied Savior.

However, people didn’t call him Christ (Messiah) in their daily speech, since most didn’t recognize Him as the Messiah, and therefore it was dangerous to confess Him as such.

Every time the Bible refers to “Jesus Christ,” it means that Jesus is God’s Chosen One. This is another way to declare that Jesus is the Messiah. (Peter 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Jude 1:1 and Revelation 1:1.)

In Acts 18:5 we see a clear distinction between the name Jesus and the title Christ: «When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.»

Final Thoughts

It can be concluded that Jesus didn’t have a last name, like all other people in Judea. Originally His name sounds differently than in English, and the word Christ isn’t a surname.

Instead, Jesus was named after his father, and mother, the city where he lived, and his occupation, he could also be called a rabbi or teacher.


Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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