I AM:  Part 6

John Plunkett
November 24, 2012

Over the past couple of months, while researching the scriptures for this series and going through all of these “I AM” verses, I noticed that there are more than just a few cases of the phrase, “I AM NOT.”

We've been through all of the “I AM” verses; so now, in this last part of the series, let us look at the “I AM NOT” verses.  From these verses we can learn even more about the “I AM”
Jesus Christ and very much more about God the Father as well.

Back in the time of Jesus’ earthly human sojourn, there were many misconceptions of just who He was and what He was here on earth to do.  Some of those misconceptions have been carried forward and are still prevalent today
even amongst Bible students and people who claim to be Christians.  In some of the “I AM NOT” verses, Jesus corrects some of these misconceptions. 

I have seven main “I AM NOT” points today.  Here is the first one:

1. I AM NOT come to destroy the Law

Many of the world’s churches believe and teach that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament.  They believe that He was the big angry God who imposed all of those "terrible restrictive laws" on the people of Israel back then; also that Jesus was the One who came in the New Testament to do away with His Father’s laws and nail it to His cross.  This is what is generally taught.  This is what is generally believed in many of the world’s churches.

But is it true?  What did Jesus say?

Matthew 5:
17:  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I AM NOT come to destroy, but to fulfil. 
18:  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 
19:  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus commands us to do and to teach His Commandments.  We are to keep all ten of them.  Certainly not just the nine out of the ten.  He warns us that anybody teaching or advocating the breaking of even one of His Commandments will relegate that person to the bottom place in the Kingdom of God.

Back in our latter days with the Worldwide Church of God, we started to hear opinions that Jesus’ New Testament Commandments were different than the Father’s Old Testament Commandments.  There are many other scriptures that prove this claim to be false, and I will just give two of them here:

Matthew 19:
17:  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good?  There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18:  He saith unto him, Which?  Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 
19:  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Romans 13:
8:  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 
9:  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 
10:  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Referring again back to the Worldwide Church of God and its leaders, probably through their new found acceptance of Protestant theology, those men seemed to forget that Jesus was the LORD God of the Old Testament.  They either forgot or, more likely, they were deluded into thinking so.  I believe that they were deluded:

II Thessalonians 2:
10:  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 
11:  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

But on this particular point about maintaining the Commandments and on all other things the apostle Paul solidly agreed with His Master.  I know that you all know and adhere to these things; but there was a time where many brethren were led astray on these points; and it could happen again!

Romans 3:31:
Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Romans 7:7:
What shall we say then?  Is the law sin?  God forbid.  Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

We see right there that one of the Ten Commandments Thou shalt not covet” – certainly was not done away.

2. I AM NOT come to call the righteous

There are some Church of God groups and their ministers who preach the total avoidance of the “world.”  They teach the separation from any people who are not members of "their" particular church groups.

Also, again going back to our Worldwide Church of God days, some of the ministers back then were very picky about who should be allowed to attend church services and who should not.  This is still the case in some of the Church of God groups today.  At one time in the Worldwide Church of God, a new person, in order to be allowed to attend church services had to be virtually perfect.  He had to have completed most
or even all of the 58-lesson Ambassador College Correspondence Course.  The men had to wear a suit and a tie (etc.) and have their hair cut short.  For the women, their hair and the length of their skirts had to be of the approved length.  Now, please don't misunderstand me: I'm not advocating a totally open church attendance policy or a totally open dress code policy.  I believe that we should appear before God the Father and Jesus Christ in a very respectful manner.  But the main point here, with regards to who should be allowed to come to services and come to God is to ask, “What did Jesus do?”  Yes, what was Jesus Christ’s opinion and example on this?

Matthew 9:9:
And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me.  And he arose, and followed him.

That's amazing!  Was Matthew a Christian at this point?  I don’t think so!  Was he almost a Christian?  Was he well up on scriptural knowledge?  Maybe; but we really don’t know for sure.  We do know that Matthew was a publican.  That doesn’t mean that he owned a pub!  No, he was a tax collector; and tax collectors were one of the most hated groups amongst the Jews.

Verse 10:  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

So Jesus allowed them to be with Him; and He was happy to be with them.

Verse 11: And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

There is certainly some hypocrisy here from the Pharisees... which is not unusual as that is what they were known for.  These Pharisees judged the publicans because they collected taxes for the enemy the Romans who had occupied their land.  These publicans, we know, took large cuts for themselves.  It is likely that taxes were also collected for King Herod and his government as well.  Also, we learn from the conspiracy that led to Jesus’ death, that the Pharisees were quite willing to cozy up to the Romans whenever it suited their purpose. 

Verse 12:  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 
13:  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I AM NOT come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus quoted this verse from:

Hosea 6:6:
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

It is interesting that Jesus said, “I AM NOT come to call the righteous.”  There are a couple of points here.  First, it should go almost without saying that the truly righteous would not even need calling, as they already would have been called.  Secondly, at that time we know that there were none (other than Jesus) that were truly righteous.  There were none that had even started on the road to true Christianity.  We know this because of what Jesus said a short while later:

Matthew 19:17:
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good?  There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

So what lessons can we learn from this point? 

First of all, we must put a high priority on love and mercy.  

Secondly, we must realize, and accept, that the unconverted people of the world are our physical brothers and sisters; and, potentially, they are our spiritual brothers and sisters... and will be when God calls them in His good time.  Yes, they are, through Adam, the physical children of God and they are potentially the spiritual children of God.  It is important for us to remember this.  

Thirdly, we should not reject any, and especially those who God appears to be calling. 

3. I AM NOT sent but unto the Lost Sheep of Israel

Matthew 15:24:
But he answered and said, I AM NOT sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Most of you have been in the Church for quite a long time; so if you really think about this, I'm sure you'll agree that this is a very thought-provoking statement; and one which might seem to contradict some of the previous statements that I've already said today regarding God's (and our) acceptance of all mankind. 

The big questions here are these: Who was Jesus sent to?  Was He sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? 

Well yes; that is what He said; and His words were clearly recorded by Matthew.  But we may also ask, Only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?  This is what seems to be implied here.  But let’s see!  Let's go into this a bit more deeply.

At that time when Jesus said this, who and where were the lost sheep of "the House of Israel"? 

First of all, who were they?  Well we know that they were not the Jews, who were a separate tribe
and at that time were even a separate nation repeatedly referred to forty-one times in the scriptures as "the House of Judah."  They were located in the south of the area commonly referred to today as "Palestine."  The two houses had split back in the time of Rehoboam and Jeroboam.  So "the lost sheep of the House of Israel" were not the Jews.

Putting our first question on hold for a minute, our second question is “Where were the lost sheep of the House of Israel at that time?”  Many or most of the lost sheep had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians way back in approximately 721 BC.  The Assyrian territory was located north-east of Israel and Judah.  I'm not totally sure of the exact timing; but many of the lost sheep may have been dispersed throughout Europe by the time of Jesus’ earthly sojourn.  There is also some evidence in various histories and scriptures that not all of the Israelites were taken in exile into Assyrian captivity.  Some Israelites may have remained behind and some of them drifted back to their homeland areas as the years, decades and centuries rolled by.  

Three of the areas up in the north part of what was formerly the nation of Israel were, first of all, Samaria, including its cities of Samaria and Shechem, which you are probably familiar with; Galilee, including some of its better-known cities: Cana, Nain and Nazareth. And further north than those two, part of a separate country (Syria) at the time of Jesus' visit, was Phoenicia, its main cities being Tyre and Sidon.  This latter area of is most relevant to this point today.

It is quite a well-known fact, which I have mentioned many times, that the people of Samaria
the Samaritans were a mixed race.  These mixed-race peoples were very much looked down upon by their Jewish brethren.  Their Jewish brethren would not even want to be called their "brethren."  The Jews referred to the Samaritans as "mongrel dogs." Please keep that appellation in mind.  The reason for it was because the remaining Israelite people had intermarried with the Gentile peoples that their Assyrian conquerors had sent into their homeland to replace the lost sheep who had been taken into exile.

Also, many of the Jews of that time generally had a great arrogance about them.  They looked upon the people of Galilee as only one step better than these so-called Samaritan "mongrels."  We see implied epithets about the people of Galilee throughout the gospel accounts.

Let us go back now to Matthew 15 and let us ask, when Jesus made this “I AM NOT” statement, where was He?   And also, just what was He getting at when He said this?  Let’s go back and read the whole story:

Matthew 15:21: 
Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

Again, I will just mention that Tyre and Sidon were twin Phoenician cities, north of Galilee and Samaria.  They were located on the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean Sea; but they were certainly not part of Judea.  They were part of Phoenicia, a province of Syria, as you can see on any Bible map.  So by visiting the Tyre and Sidon area Jesus crossed an international border and went over into another country. 

Verse 22:  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

"Canaan" or "Kenaan" was the native name for Phoenicia.  "Phoenicia" was the name given to the area by the Greeks.  

These are all valid, relevant facts which are important to the account.  Nevertheless, just who was this woman?  And what was her nationality?   Let us go briefly to the parallel account in Mark:

Mark 7:26:
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.

Mark wrote that the woman was a Greek.  But the word "Greek" here comes from the Greek word "Hellenis" a female noun which can be a catch-all term, especially from the Jews' point of view, for any Gentile woman of any nation not just Greece.  

This lady certainly was not a Greek national.  Nor was she a pure Israelite.  The word "Syrophenician" in Mark 7:26 reveals that she was a mixed-race person partially Phoenician.

Some of the commentators have supposed that she was a hundred percent Gentile.  But I'm not so sure; and one of the reasons I say this is that I ask, If she was in fact a full gentile, is it really likely that she would address Jesus as "Thou son of David."  This would be very strange verbal behaviour for a full Gentile.  Now, back to Matthew 15:

Verse 23a:  But he answered her not a word...  

Could it really be that Jesus was being ignorant?  We might wonder why Jesus did not answer her and why He paused at this time.  I'm not sure and I don’t want to read anything into it; but His pause might imply that He may have been communing with His Father to ask for advice on this. 

Verse 23b:  ... And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

And then Jesus utters His intriguing “I AM NOT” statement:

Verse 24:  But he answered and said, I AM NOT sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew says here that "He answered."  Who was Jesus answering when He said these words?  There are two possibilities His disciples and the woman.  

If He was answering His disciples perhaps in response to their urging Him to send her away.  If so, the implication would be that she was part Israelite and thus one of the people that He was sent to serve at this time. 

The second possibility is that He was answering the woman.  If He was answering the woman, perhaps in response to her plea to rid her son of a demon, the implication then would be that she was not a full Israelite but a Gentile, or perhaps a mixed-race woman, as I personally believe to have been the case. 

Despite whatever nationality she was, let us ask another question:  What was the time-frame of Jesus’ statement?  Was He sent to earth to serve for His whole ministry only the people of the lost house of Israel?  Were the lost house of Israel somehow the only people who He was to serve?  If so, this would contradict many other scriptures which show that He came to earth to serve all people: Jewish Israelites, non-Jewish Israelites, Gentiles, and even the much despised mixed-race people.  

Nevertheless, I believe that there is another explanation to this.  Was it not more likely that Jesus was just sent at that specific short period
maybe a few days or weeks to that particular Tyre and Sidon area, in order to serve any of the lost Israelites who remained or had returned there?  This seems like a much more probable interpretation of what Jesus was saying here.

We are not finished with it yet.  There is still more to this account:

Verse 25:  Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Again, whatever the woman's nationality, she tried again.  She wasn’t going to give up.  She was like that persistent widow of Luke 18:1-8.  She came closer to Jesus and she worshipped Him.  Now this is interesting.  In what manner did she worship Him?  The Greek word for "worshipped" is "proskuneo."  Every time we read this word in the New Testament, it means "worship" or "worshipped"; but here are some deeper interpretations of the word "proskuneo":  It can mean to kiss one's hand in token of reverence; to fall on one's knees and touch the ground with his or her forehead as an expression of profound reverence.  It can mean kneeling or prostration actually lying down on the floor to do homage or to make obeisance in order to express respect or to make supplication, as this woman was doing.  "Proskuneo" was homage shown to those of a superior rank (which Jesus was and is); for instance to a High Priest (which Jesus was and is) or to God (which Jesus was and is).  Again, would not such a deep and sincere worship of a Jew be very strange behaviour for a full Gentile?  Continuing, still  in Matthew 15:

Verse 26:  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 

Dogs?  Remember the "mongrel dogs" that we talked about earlier, as the Samaritans were looked upon? 

Here is another statement of Jesus' which may be relevant to this point:

Matthew 7:6:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Please note that, back in Matthew 15 Jesus did not chastise the woman for worshipping Him.  No.  He accepted worship from her.  Still, what He said here in verse 26 might seem very harsh to us comparing the woman and her people to dogs. 

The Greek word for "dogs" in Matthew 7 is "kuon"; but in Matthew 15, Jesus uses a different word the somewhat softer term "kunarion" the literal translation of which is "little dogs."  Today, we would probably use the term "puppies."

The implication here in this verse seems to be that the "children" that Jesus is talking about symbolically represent Israelites including both houses: the northern and the southern; the house of Israel and the house of Judah the Jews.  And the "little dogs" or "puppies" that He is referring to represent the Gentiles and maybe possibly including the mixed-race people too.  

Again, Jesus said that He was in the Tyre and Sidon area at that specific time to serve only "the children," in other words, the Israelites.  Continuing back in Mathew 15:

Verse 27:  And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs {puppies) eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

This lady, as well as being faithful, was smart too.  She accurately recognized Jesus as the Master; and again, this would have been very unusual for a full Gentile to refer to Him a Jew as "Master."  She also accurately recognized the possibilities that the Gentiles and the mixed-race people might be granted the benefit of some of the Master’s leftovers. 

Verse 28:  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

This might remind us of Matthew 8:5-13 where we read of Jesus having an earlier interaction with a Gentile a Roman centurion.  Jesus, in a similar way as with that centurion, was very impressed with the great faith of this woman, to the point that He overlooked her relatively inferior national status (from the Jews' viewpoint, that is) and granted her plea. 

I think that this is a wonderful account in which is revealed to us the wonderful heart of Jesus Christ.  This account is one of those that we can read over very quickly or that we can dig into and meditate upon what really went on. 

4. I AM NOT come of Myself

It was Feast time and, as was so often the case, some argumentative Jews were giving Jesus a hard time in the temple.  We start off with a false statement from these argumentative Jews:

John 7:27:
Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.

"When Christ comes, no man will know where He comes from."  I don’t know where they got this false idea from.  It sounds a little like the rapture theory!  

However, by verse 42, as we will see, these same argumentative Jews changed their story.  It is obvious that they were lying; that they were making up their story as they went along.  They were always trying to disprove Jesus and disprove His true origin. 

They knew very well or should have done that the Messiah’s birthplace was prophesied to be in Bethlehem:

Matthew 2:
4:  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 
5:  And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

Micah 5:2:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

They knew that Bethlehem was the place.  Now, back to John 7 and our next "I AM NOT" verse:

Verse 28:  Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and 
I AM NOT come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 
29:  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

Jesus told them here that He had not come of Himself; He had not come by His own authority; but He had come by the authority of the One who sent Him.  As we carry on, we will see that it was God the Father who sent Him. 

Jesus said that they did know Him.  Yes, His quarrelsome listeners did know Him.  They considered Him to be a well-known troublemaker throughout the area.  Why?  Because He spoke the truth and not according to their flawed Jewish tradition; but He spoke directly from the Holy written scriptures.  These were His own Holy written scriptures.  Yes, the personal Word of God taught from the written Word of God, which was His own written Word.  He was the original Author. 

Also, these Jews knew where He was from; or at least they thought that they did:

Verse 40:  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. 
41:  Others said, This is the Christ.  But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 
42:  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?...
Verse 52:  They answered and said unto him
{Nicodemus, one of the few Pharisees that courageously stood up and supported Jesus}, Art thou also of Galilee?  Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

These Jews did not seem to know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and, for His own reasons, Jesus never publicized that fact.  We can look throughout the gospel accounts and we will see that He never says that He was born in Bethlehem.

These Jews did know, however, that He was brought up in the town of Galilee in Nazareth; but they wrongly assumed that He had been born in Galilee.

We know that neither Nazareth nor Bethlehem was Jesus’ true origin.  Heaven was Jesus’ true origin.  The Throne of His Father was His true origin.  We read this in many of the “I AM” verses we covered earlier; but Jesus repeats the fact right here in John 7, repeating from verses 28 and 29:

Verse 28: ...and I AM NOT come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 
29:  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

We know that, humanly, He was born in Bethlehem and He was brought up in Galilee; but He told the Jews over and over again and He tells us too that He was originally from God the Father in Heaven.

Again, who was the "Him" and the "He" that Jesus was referring to here in verse 28 and 29?  It was God the Father.  Jesus openly said so
repeatedly and much to vexation of the Jewish leaders.

This theme of Jesus’ origin continues as we move along into our next “I AM NOT” verse:

5. I AM NOT of this World

John 8:23:
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I AM NOT of this world.

As we move through this, it gets more and more exciting, as so many of these scriptures fall in together. 

Jesus stresses this fact that, even still as a human being, He was not of this world.  And, as astonishing as it may seem, He reveals the fact that His disciples and by extension, you and me are also, just like Jesus, not of this world.  Yes, even while we are still human beings.  

Where does the Bible say this?  We find it in Jesus’ wonderful prayer in two more "I AM NOT" verses in John 17:

John 17:
14:  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I AM NOT of the world. 
15:  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 
16:  They are not of the world, even as I AM NOT of the world.

Here we see in these “I AM NOT” statements that Jesus is including us with Himself in this.  That is so wonderful.  He is including us as fellow sons and daughters with Himself, the Firstborn Son of God.  I call this wonderful blessing "the concept of inclusion."  We'll come back to it again before we finish.

6. I AM NOT alone

John 8:16:
And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I AM NOT alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

The old King James English of this last phrase is confusing.  The New King James Version clarifies it as saying, “I am with the Father who sent Me.”  (Incidentally, this is another verse that further identifies the "Him" and the "He" of John 7:29-29).

Jesus backs up His statement that He was not alone in at least two more verses.  Here is the first of the two:

Verse 29:  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. 

This is a great example for us.  Do you not want God the Father to leave you alone to get on with life’s struggles by yourself?  If you don’t, then you must do those things that please Him. 

Not only had Jesus come from God the Father to earth; as we learnt in a  previous part of this study, He was with God the Father while He was here as a human being.  Yes, God the Father was with Him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in full measure (John 3:34).  Even though Jesus’ darkest hour was approaching when He knew that those closest to Him would soon desert Him through fear, He still knew that He was not alone:

John 16:32:
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I AM NOT alone, because the Father is with me.

I get shivers up my spine when I read this because, even though Jesus said this, the time would soon come when God the Father did have to leave Him for just a short time.  When we read about His Father leaving Him, we see that Jesus’ resulting agony was absolutely astounding:

Matthew 26:
37:  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 
38:  Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

We need to dig into those words and realize what they mean.

Verse 39:  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt... 
Verse 42:  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

I have spoken and written about this before; but I will ask the question again: Just what was this "cup" that Jesus asked to be taken away if His Father willed it?  Was it the mocking and ridicule that He knew that He would soon endure?  Was it the beatings?  Or was it the absolute physical agony of the crucifixion?  I don’t believe that these were what the "cup" was.  Jesus knew very well that He and His Father had planned these supremely necessary events for many years; centuries even; perhaps it was even millennia that they had been working on these plans!

John 12:27:
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

I am sure that Jesus was not looking forward to the pain and the ridicule; but He knew in advance all that He had to go through; but I do not believe that He asked His Father to take it all away from Him. Twice Jesus reprimanded His beloved Peter for even suggesting that His Master might not go through this:

Matthew 16:
21:  From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 
22:  Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23:  But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Yes, Peter certainly was being strongly influenced by Satan at that time.  This was one of Satan's last-ditch efforts to prevent what Jesus was about to do.

Then, at the very time of Jesus’ arrest, Peter again tried to prevent what Jesus was about to do.  This time he even used violent means.  We all know what Peter did so we don’t have to go through the whole account; but let us just look at what Jesus said:

John 18:11:
Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

And Jesus did drink the contents of that cup.  He accepted and endured all that had to be done to Him.  He accepted and endured it all quietly.  Here is a scripture that we read at every Passover:

Isaiah 53:7:
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

We know, of course, that this was a prophecy referring to Jesus.  However, when God the Father did leave Him alone, Jesus could not help but the end His self imposed silence:

Matthew 27:46:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

When we look into the Greek of this, we see that He was saying something like: “How could you abandon me?  How could you leave me behind in this awful place?”

To be deserted by His human friends and disciples was bad enough.  But He had expected this.  However, to be totally separated from His Father
– even just for a few hours – that condition was utterly unbearable for Him. 

We have to remember that God the Father was not being mean, unfeeling or selfish in this act; rather, it was a very necessary one.  I don’t have time to go into the details of this today; but it was very necessary that God the Father left Jesus alone. 

Again we ask the question, What was Jesus’ "cup"?  I believe that it was the act of God the Father leaving His beloved Son to carry all of the sins of the world – on His own – alone:

Hebrews 1:
1:  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 
2:  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
3: Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 

Yes, Jesus purged our sins – by Himself!  The "cup" was unbearable poison for Jesus; but He accepted it and He drank of it by Himself – alone.

This section may have been better timed for a Sabbath just prior to the Passover; but I felt that it really is an inseparable component of this “I AM NOT” part of our series.

But let us not finish this series with the account of Jesus’ crucifixion, although it certainly was a wonderful event.  For the final scripture in this long series, let us move along just a few days in time to the Sunday morning after Jesus’ Sabbath afternoon resurrection.  And for the final point of the whole series:

7. I AM NOT yet ascended to my Father:

John 20:17:
Jesus saith unto her
{Mary Magdalene}, Touch me not; for I AM NOT yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

On that Sunday morning, Jesus had not yet ascended to His Father’s Throne.  

Did you ever ask why?  Why had He not already gone back to His Father’s Throne?  He could have done, I suppose, as He was resurrected on the Sabbath afternoon, seventy-two hours after He was laid in the tomb.  

He said to Mary, “I AM NOT yet ascended to My Father’s Throne”  Perhaps He wanted to make a point of letting His disciples know that He was about to make this brief journey to His Father’s Throne – in order to fulfill the twin symbolisms of the Wave-sheaf and Day of Atonement offerings. 

The Wave-sheaf offering would have been offered that very morning – perhaps even as He was talking to Mary Magdalene.  The Wave-sheaf offering, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is mentioned in Leviticus 23:10-14. 

The other symbolism was that of the Day of Atonement offering which we also read about also back in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  But in its New Testament anti-type, it is gone into in detail in Hebrews 9.  Again, perhaps Jesus wanted to make a point of letting His disciples know that that is what He was about to do.

But there seems to be even more here!  Please read again those final words that Jesus uses to complete His short conversation with Mary Magdalene immediately before making this trip to heaven.  Read the wonderful and comforting words He uses. 

But even more than just wonderful and comforting, these again were "inclusive" words.  He said: "My Father and your Father" and "My God and your God."  These were inclusive words that were intended to bring the disciples – and again, by extension, you and me – into a close Family relationship with Himself and with His Father. 

Again, just as we read earlier in Jesus' John 17 prayer, when He said that the disciples were not of the world even as He – the I AM – was not of the world, this, like that, was also an inclusive statement.  

Here in this short dialogue with Mary Magdalene, Jesus includes His disciples – and us – with Himself as His brothers and sisters, and also as sons and daughters of His Father. 

He is telling Mary, He is telling His disciples through her, and He is telling us, My Father is your Father too; and My God – the God that those argumentative Jews never knew – He is your God too. 

He is saying, Just as I am the Son of God the Father, so are you His sons and His daughters.

I think that that is a good and positive forward-looking place to close this long series, which we began five months ago on June 30th. 

By concentrating for all of this time on Jesus’ frequent use of the phrases “I AM” and today on “I AM NOT,” I trust that we have all come to know them better: Jesus, the I AM...  and His Father too...

No!  Our Father too!