34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
The crowd here contradicted Jesus based on their perception of the Bible. They clearly understood what He meant by the Messiah being lifted up on the cross to die.
34 The people answered Him,
The people understood that Jesus spoke of His death on the cross. They also argued against His claim to be the Messiah.
“We [emphatic] have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever;
The crowd was confused because they thought that the Messiah would reign forever, but how could this fit with a crucified Christ? Their understanding of the Old Testament indicated a conquering Messiah.
and how can You [emphatic] say,
Both the “we” and “You” are emphatic. The crowd and Jesus viewed the claims of Christ entirely differently.
‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’?
Instead of Jesus speaking of Himself as a conquering hero, He spoke of His death. The crucifixion of Christ ran counter to their idea that the Messiah would conquer the world. They thought that the Messiah would live forever. They supposed that the Triumphal Entry meant their troubles would be over.
Who is this Son of Man?”
Non-believing Israel expected a triumphant Messiah, so they questioned whether Jesus could be the Messiah. Daniel 7:13-14 said that the “Son of Man” would establish an eternal kingdom. It was difficult for these Jews to reconcile a conquering Messiah with a dying one.
This is the last mention of the crowd in the public ministry of Christ.
It is important to approach the Bible without bias.
Non-believers reject Christ because of their biases. These prejudices are of greater value and importance to them than what God has to say explicitly in His Word.