52 Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
Then the Jews said to Him,
The Jews once again misunderstood what Jesus said. They thought He spoke of physical death.
“Now we know that You have a demon!
Jesus’ opponents could not accept the idea that Jesus had the power to offer eternal life. They now hurled a jeer at Him. The equivalent in our culture is “You are insane.” This group was incredulous toward Jesus.
Abraham is dead,
The Jews argued something that missed Jesus’ point entirely. They assumed that Jesus was saying that He was physically present with Abraham at some point.
and the prophets;
All the prophets physically died. Jesus did not claim, as the Jews thought, that He would never die physically.
and You say,
The conclusion to their proof that their ancestors died was to ask how it was possible that Jesus could claim He would never physically die.
‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’
The idea that Jesus was superior to the historic religious leaders of Israel was appalling to them. To them Jesus’ claims were preposterous.
Are You greater than our father Abraham,
The implication of this phrase was that Abraham was greater than Jesus.
who is dead?
Abraham was physically dead. The Greek expects a negative answer—to the Jews, Jesus was not greater than Abraham.
And the prophets are dead.
The prophets were physically dead.
Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
The argument goes something like this: “Since the key leaders of Israel died, and you claim physical death is not possible, you make yourself out to be greater than our leaders.”
There is such a thing as progressively hardening oneself against God.
The most difficult people to reach are those who do not see their need. Religion can blunt people’s assessment of themselves. The more they go negative toward God, the harder they get toward Him.
Non-Christians are devoid of spiritual discernment. The natural man does not have capacity to relate to God (1 Co 2:14). They are unable to grasp divine truth because of their previous bias.