“Messianic Jews” refuse to call themselves Christians for many reasons. One reason is that although they have the same Messiah, they practice different religions. (See here). Another reason is that “Christ” is Greek, and they consider things (and words) Greek to mean nothing. Strange, because the NT is written in Greek. But then the riposte would ostensibly be, “the NT was or should have been written in Hebrew (Aramaic?).”
When it comes to people’s names in the Babelian world we live in, it is often difficult to pronounce a foreign name. I live in South Africa where there are seven official African languages, as well as English and Afrikaans, which make nine official languages. In recent years many English and Afrikaans place names have changed to sometimes unpronounceable African names (for many English and Afrikaans speakers). For example, Clocolan → Hlohloloane/Hlohlolwande, Ficksburg → Joalabeholo, Harrismith → Mengkhoaneng, Witsieshoek → Phuthaditjhaba These African names were the original names of these places before they were changed by White rule. It goes without saying that an African would be delighted if you used these names, and would even more so if you pronounced the names correctly.
To return to the New Testament: The apostles John, Matthew and Mark were Jews and had Hebrew birth names, which they must have used among their fellow Jews. There must have been some non-Jews who could pronounce the guttural “ch” (as in the Scottish word “loch) and so probably called John by his Hebrew name Yochanan, which I’m sure would have delighted John (John is English for the Greek “Ioannis” Ιωάννης informally: Γιάννης). John/Ioannis/Ιωάννης would, of course, not have been insulted or felt diminished if a non-Jew did not want to call him YoCHanan. At the time, Aramaic, not Hebrew, was the lingua franca of the Jews.
Many Jews in Judea in the time of Jesus/Yeshua must have also known some Greek and Latin as well, which were the official languages across the Greek Empire conquered by the Romans circa 60 BCE. All the Jews living outside of Judea in the diaspora during the Greek Empire 300-60 BCE – who were the majority of Jews in the world – spoke Greek, and had Greek names for social use. No doubt, some/many also had Hebrew birth names (as well). These Jews knew little Hebrew. Translations of the Torah use translated names, for instance, Abraham, instead of Avraham; Moses instead of Moshe, etc. (“Moses” is closer to the original Egyptian than the Hebraised “Moshe”).
On a secular and lighter note; would it be wrong for an English person who knows no German to ask a German who knows English: “Do you speak German?” Or would that mean nothing (that is, be of no significance) to a German? Should the English person – in case he meets his prospective German (who knows English, of course) – ensure that he knows the German for “German,” namely, “Deutsch” to ask the right question, namely, “Do you speak Deutsch?” What about “Do you speak Paruski?” “Do you speak Ivrit?”
Imaginary dialogue: English person who speaks German meets someone whom the English person thinks is German:
English person – “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”
“German” person? – “Nein lenkviches ekshept Cherman.”
To return to Jesus, which I would wish everyone, including all Messianic Jews, to do: All Christians worth their salt know that “Jesus” means Saviour. There’s the silly homophonic notion that the Greek “Iesous” means “son of Zeus.” the New Oxford Dictionary of English gets it right. The Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iēsoûs) is a Hellenisation of the Hebrew יהושע (Yehoshua) or Hebrew-Aramaic ישוע (Yeshua ), which means “saviour.” “Jesus the Christ” is an ubiquitous appellation throughout the NT. I don’t see any humongous difference between ”Yeshua haMashiach” and ”Jesus Christ.” Unless one is into Gematria, I see no difference at all after a Christian is told that Jesus is Greek for Yeshua (Zeus! right) and Christ is Greek for Mashiach. Shuck off them Greek hangups. Get a life.
All I need now is for a fellow Jew to tell me that all this name stuff is mythical nonsense because he will insist that although there may indeed be Zulus in Africa there certainly wasn’t a messianic Yeshua in Judah. Hmmm.