14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.
Jesus made it perfectly clear that Lazarus was physically dead. There was no human source for the idea that Lazarus was dead other than that Jesus knew it by supernatural means.
And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there,
Jesus’ joy was not in the death of Lazarus per se, but in the development of His disciples’ faith. The cross of Christ was near at hand and His presence would no longer be available to His disciples. They needed to learn an important lesson.
that you may believe.
Jesus’ delayed action of going to Lazarus had the purpose of developing the disciples’ faith. They were believers, but they needed a stronger faith. Faith is a progressive thing. The desire of Jesus was to advance the disciples’ faith to the point that they would realize that there is reality beyond death and that God was providentially working in their lives. They needed to go beyond their fear to trust in God’s care.
Nevertheless let us go to him.”
Jesus called upon His disciples to accompany Him to Bethany.
Then Thomas, who is called the Twin,
Thomas was called “Didymus,” which means twin. This is the Thomas known as “doubting Thomas.”
said to his fellow disciples,
Thomas made a pronouncement to his fellow disciples about the ominous and dreadful situation they were about to face.
“Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
Although Jesus had just spoken of the need for disciples to go beyond their fear, Thomas in a cavalier manner challenged the disciples to go headlong into the danger. He missed the point about advancing one’s faith to see beyond the issue of death. His fear was exactly what Jesus attempted to correct in the previous verses.
Later Thomas doubted Jesus’ resurrection (Jn 20:27). He ironically did initially not believe Jesus rose from the dead, even when Jesus stood right in his presence. People can be fickle.
Fear needs to pass from superficial resolution to genuine faith.
We tend to think of Jesus’ disciples as “super-saints.” However, they often failed the Lord. Jesus constantly sought to increase their faith. Operating faith is a progressive dynamic.
The Bible views death as an enemy (1 Co 15:26). Our Lord dealt with that issue fully and finally. If Jesus merely healed a sick man, that would be a cause for praise; however, He raised a man from the dead, which leaves no room for doubt that He is God Himself. The disciples needed a clear grasp of the deity of Christ.