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But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

9:32 understood not. Jesus could hardly have spoken more plainly than in what He said, but the disciples did not understand, basically because they were “afraid” that He meant what He said. Similarly, many today have difficulty in understanding God’s Word, primarily because they don’t want to believe that God actually means what He says. This is especially true in connection with His record of creation and other miracles.

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