Just as Nicodemus misunderstood the metaphor Jesus used when He told him, “You must be born again.” (John 3:4) The disciples misconstrued Jesus’ reference to death as sleep. Though when Jesus used the Greek word, Koimao, for “fallen asleep” it can be used for both sleep & dying. So Jesus then told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” using the Greek word, Apothnesko, which definitively means natural death. Why? So that there would be no trace of doubt that Jesus could deliver Lazarus from the grave.