Jesus was a close friend of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He probably visited with them on numerous occasions so when Lazarus fell ill Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus. Why? In all likelihood, they knew who Jesus was and believed that Jesus would heal their brother. When He heard about the illness, Jesus delayed returning as the hour had not arrived. When He was ready to return, His disciples feared for His life but they were determined to go with Him so they could die with Him. But remember, the hour had not arrived.