WORD STUDY: MY LORD AND MY GOD
John 20:28: “And Thomas answered and said unto him: My Lord and my God.”
My Lord and My God – Hebrew: adoni alei, Aramaic: dari alahi. Idiomatic expression of endearment – My dearest.
The passage in John 20:27-29 does not say that Thomas did touch the nail prints and the side of Jesus, it only tells us he said in Greek “Ho, kuios mou, Ho Theos mou.” “My Lord and my God.” Some liberal theologians have tried to dismiss that last phrase as an exclamation, ie., “My Lord and oh my gosh.” That is because they are quite of aware that Thomas may have spoken this phrase in Hebrew and it would have been “adoni alei,” or in Aramaic “dari alahi.” This would be tantamount to declaring Jesus to be God Jehovah. A good Jew like Thomas would not utter the sacred name but by saying “adoni alei” that would be the closest he could come to declaring Jesus as God without calling Him Jehovah. Even if he spoke it in his colloquial language of Aramaic, dari alahi it would have still expressed the idea that Jesus was indeed Jehovah God. Both, however, would be offensive to many translators because it would have been like calling the Almighty, creator of the universe, “My dearest.” Many Christians think that is getting a little too personal with God.
However, “adoni alei” is a term rarely used in the Old Testament, except in the Psalms where David uses it quite frequently and most likely where its origins lies in becoming a expression of love toward God or a term of endearment. Sort of like a husband calling his wife “My dearest.” He is the only person in the world that can call this woman “My dearest.” You, try it and you could end up with a black eye, not only from him but from her as well. So too is the expression “adoni alei” or dari alahi a term of endearment. To use this phrase with anyone but God Jehovah would be to give that person the status of diety and be blasphemous. It is a special expression that can only be used with God Jehovah and only used if you really love Him.
That moment before Jesus, when Thomas had the complete awareness that he was before God Jehovah Himself, and the love and acceptance he must have felt at that moment coming from Jesus must have so overwhelmed him that he uttered those words of endearment like a lover would do the moment her beloved asks for her hand in marriage. That intense moment of love and acceptance caused Thomas to speak words of complete submission. Thomas would never have forgotten that moment when he stood before Jesus and was first made aware that he was before the almighty God. Three years He walked with Jesus but until he knew Jesus as God Jehovah, could he only say: “adoni alei,” or “dari alahi.”
We will never be sure whether Thomas spoke those words in Aramaic or Hebrew but in my quiet moments when I am sharing a special, intimate private time with Jesus I like to use the Aramaic word dari. You see, put adoni alei or dari alahi into modern 21st Century English and dari sounds so much like our English word – Dearest.
WORD STUDY: MY LORD AND MY GOD