What does John 8:52 mean?
ESV: The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’
NIV: At this they exclaimed, 'Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death.
NASB: The Jews said to Him, 'Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets as well; and yet You say, ‘If anyone follows My word, he will never taste of death.’
CSB: Then the Jews said, "Now we know you have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.'
NLT: The people said, 'Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’
KJV: Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
NKJV: 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.’
Verse Commentary:
Jesus' ministry has brought out intense frustration in His critics. The religious leaders of Jerusalem, in particular, are livid over His repeated victories in debate and in the public's eyes. Every time these men have tried to fool, trick, or embarrass Jesus, it has backfired (Matthew 16:1; 19:3; Matthew 22:35; Luke 10:25; 11:54). They've even tried to have Him arrested (John 7:32), or killed (John 5:18), and those attempts have also failed (John 7:45–46). Jesus has been bold in pointing out their hypocrisy and stubbornness. In particular, Jesus has declared that their use of lies and violence proves that they are not really the spiritual children of God (John 8:44). And, Jesus has become more and more direct in His condemnation of their sin.

The responses given by these men have sunk to the level of personal insults, such as implying that Jesus is an illegitimate child, or that He is insane. In this verse, that charge of insanity is repeated, since Jesus has just claimed that those who follow Him will not "taste death" (John 8:51), a comment which the Pharisees and their followers misunderstand. Abraham was a major theme of this conversation, and he is brought up again as one who, though He followed God, still experienced physical death. This is not what Jesus means, however, as the next verses will show.
Verse Context:
John 8:31–59 is a passage which dovetails with John 2:13–22, where Jesus drives corrupt businessmen from the temple. These Scriptures disprove any myths that Jesus was weak, timid, passive, or soft. In this exchange with the Pharisees, Jesus pulls no punches. Jerusalem's religious leaders, and their followers, continue to resist Jesus' preaching. They rely on arrogance and insults, to which Jesus responds with blunt, unfiltered condemnation. This culminates in Jesus making an overt statement of His own divinity, punctuating the debate by declaring ''before Abraham was, I am!''
Chapter Summary:
John chapter 8 includes the story of the adulterous woman, a well-known but controversial passage. Most scholars believe this story is authentic, but not originally found in this exact spot in Scripture. This chapter continues Jesus' preaching during the Feast of Booths, where He once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. Here, Christ will make His second ''I AM'' statement, using the analogy of light, which is a common theme in Hebrew theology. This conversation will become more and more heated. Eventually, Jesus' opponents are enraged enough to attempt killing Him right then and there.
Chapter Context:
Jesus is attending the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem, and has once again come into conflict with the local religious authorities. In the previous chapter, Jesus referred to Himself as a source of living water, playing off of the festivals' ritual pouring of water in the temple. In this chapter, Jesus will use the imagery of lights, also related to festival traditions. This chapter demonstrates Jesus' willingness to be direct, even aggressive, with His critics. The next few chapters will complete Jesus' public ministry, as He prepares for His impending death.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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