Sometimes what God does only makes sense in light of a bigger picture. In this passage Jesus deliberately delays going to see Lazarus until that worthy is dead. Mary and Martha probably expected Jesus to come running to heal Lazarus, one of His close friends and a supporter of the ministry. Instead Jesus stays where He is two extra days. When the news of Lazarus’s sickness arrives Jesus says plainly that the sickness will not end in death. Instead it will bring glory to God. When Jesus announces it is time to go and see Lazarus He tells the disciples that Lazarus is dead. The astute mind will do the math and discover that Jesus intends to raise His friend from the dead.
Of course the disciples have much more mundane worries than how God manipulates events. They are worried for their own skins if Jesus brings them back down near Jerusalem. The chief priests and scribes had promised a lethal welcome if Jesus dared to show His face there again. Following Christ down to Judea was not a light errand, but a dangerous destination. When Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him,” he is utterly serious and afraid. All the disciples argue with Jesus about the issue. In their minds it might make sense to travel down to save Lazarus from death while he was still breathing, but going now after he already died is foolishness. Little did they know the miracle to come.