Our Lord is often referred to as Jesus by the writers of the Gospels; however, I cannot think of an instance where He is referred to, or called, Jesus by any of His enemies (or strangers).

Can anyone point me to an instance (in a Catholic Bible) where our Lord is called Jesus by one of His enemies or a stranger? It seems that "Sir", or "Rabbi", or perhaps, "Master" are the more likely salutations.

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    Let us alone, what have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God. Luke 4:34 Douay-Rheims Bible. Also Mark 1:24.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 4, 2023 at 9:14
  • @NigelJ Many thanks for this comment; I had not thought of these. I had had in mind, the less formal. Jesus. Would you know if such an instance exists in the Gospels? I tend to think that it doesn't. Thanks again.
    – user60376
    Feb 4, 2023 at 14:54
  • Jesus means savior.
    – Geremia
    Feb 19, 2023 at 4:32

2 Answers 2


Yes, and you can read it in John's gospel account, in any translation, including the Douay-Rheims Bible:

"Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read, 'JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS'. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek." John 19:19-20 N.I.V.

Pontius Pilate was the Roman authority enabled to condemn prisoners to death, by crucifixion or other means. He examined Jesus of Nazareth, found no fault with him and said so, but the crowds howled for his crucifixion, preferring to have Barabbas released to them rather than Jesus of Nazareth, who had gone openly about, doing good and healing many (John 19:1-16).

That is one example of a man - who was most certainly an enemy of Jesus - addressing him publicly as 'Jesus of Nazareth' and in three languages at that. A very public, clear and unequivocal declaration of just who this person was who he had crucified.

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    That is false...john is simply recounting a written statement made by Pilate. It does not matter that John believed he was Jesus in this instance. You are plucking at straws now.
    – Adam
    Feb 4, 2023 at 15:15
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    @mlchristians The name 'Jesus' was very common, so that the area such a named individual came from was a necessary inclusion for identification, especially for legal matters (such as an execution). The written sign placed above Jesus' head on the cross was what Pilate had written in 3 languages, so that everyone passing by would know exactly who this person was. The wording came from Pilate. John merely reported it, being an eye-witness to the crucifixion himself.
    – Anne
    Feb 4, 2023 at 15:19
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    @mlchristians But Pilate addressed Jesus by name in writing. Your question does not express that it had to be verbal only!
    – Ken Graham
    Feb 4, 2023 at 16:35
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    @mlchristians - I bet his mum and his brothers and sisters called him Jesus. As has already been pointed out, strangers and/or enemies, have referred to him as Jesus of Nazarteth, in order to differentiate him from the thousands of other men called Jesus. And, as Nigel J has pointed out, the demons knew exactly who Jesus was.
    – Lesley
    Feb 4, 2023 at 17:57
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    Small point: The NIV is not a Catholic Bible, but has been approved for Catholics to read.
    – Ken Graham
    Feb 4, 2023 at 23:24

Is Our Lord Ever Referred to as "Jesus" by His Enemies?

Obviously Pilate referred to to Jesus by name on a couple of occasions.

At the trial of Jesus, Pilate addressed the crowd in the presence of Jesus himself:

Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified. - Matthew 27:22

Pilate also had the name of Jesus inscribed into the title of condemnation over the head of Jesus as he hung on the Cross:

19 And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

20 This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. - John 19:19-20

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Pilate did in fact address Jesus by name in writing also. Your question does not express that it had to be verbal only!

The Demons also referred to Jesus by name. They in themselves could be considered Jesus' archenemy.

“Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” - Luke 4:34

Saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know who thou art, the Holy One of God. - Mark 1:24

  • It's not clear that Pilate was an "enemy." Tradition has it that he eventually became a Christian.
    – B. Goddard
    Feb 5, 2023 at 12:15
  • @B.Goddard The Romans were in general the enemies of both Christians and Jews. Pilate was no friend of Jesus and condemned him to death. It is a doubtful tradition that Pilate became a Christian. This tradition is held by a relatively small number of Christians.
    – Ken Graham
    Feb 5, 2023 at 12:21
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    Pilate tried to let Jesus go at least twice and declared Him innocent. The Romans weren't enemies of the Jews; their policies toward conquered peoples were pretty gentle. At this time, there is no group called "Christians" for Rome to either love or hate.
    – B. Goddard
    Feb 5, 2023 at 12:25
  • Also, I believe the Roman Church holds that Pilate became a Christian. That's hardly "a relatively small number." historytoday.com/history-matters/…
    – B. Goddard
    Feb 5, 2023 at 13:39
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    @B.Goddard 60 million divided by 2.2 billion is rather small, n'est ce pas?
    – user59106
    Feb 5, 2023 at 18:12

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