Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.1
References for John 11:13
So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,
and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
Then Thomas2 (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
References for John 11:16
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.3
References for John 11:17
Bethany4 was less than two miles from Jerusalem,
References for John 11:18
and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.5
References for John 11:19
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.6
References for John 11:20
"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died.7
References for John 11:21
But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."8
References for John 11:22
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."