"'I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.' They answered and said to Him, 'Abraham is our father.' Jesus said to them, 'If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.' Then they said to Him, 'We were not born of fornication; we have one Father--God.' Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.'"
Jesus does not deny the fact that they are physical descendents of Abraham. But He implies that they are spiritually unlike Abraham, the one in whom they trust. Abraham was a "friend of God" (James 2:23), but no friend of God seeks to kill the messenger of God's word. Yet, this is exactly what these Jews had tried to do and would continue trying to do (cf. John 8:59). Thus, they certainly aren't like Abraham spiritually.
"My word has no place in you" (John 8:37). That is, you do not allow My teachings to have free course in your life; you resist them because they are distasteful to you. Jesus then draws a distinction between His Father and their father, though He does not identify either one at this time.
This caused the Jews to respond - "Abraham is our father" (John 8:39). Jesus denied this on the following spiritual grounds - "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham." They could not have been Abraham's true spiritual children for they were following a course of action that was just the opposite of that which Abraham would have approved!
In John 8:41, Jesus again ambiguously refers to their "father." Since Jesus wouldn't allow them to claim Abraham as their spiritual father, they assert that they are not illegitimate children but that God is their Father.
Jesus then declared - "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God." Jesus exposed this claim as false also. Abraham is definitely not their spiritual father, but neither is God! Not only do they not do the "works of Abraham" (8:39), but they also don't love Jesus, the One sent by God! If they were true children of God they would recognize Jesus for whom He really was.
The Jews had failed to understand Jesus' words because they deliberately closed their ears to any teaching that was not agreeable to them (cf. Matt. 13:14,15). The reason why this is a characteristic of them is explained in the following verses, which we will consider in our next lesson.