The Gospel from John 11 can be read with the “rest of the story” in mind. We live in the light of the resurrection. Martha didn’t. She lived in the hope resurrection to come.
Knowing the ending, we have a tendency to read it back into the plot. But in so doing we lose the posture of faith in which Martha had to stand at that precise moment. And we might tend to lose it for ourselves. For we stand where Martha stood, full of faith, seeing our hope afar off, but not having grasped it as yet. We live by the Word and promise of God. Jesus raises no Lazaruses for us. There are no miracles on the way to the cemetery. We know that there could be, but we do not expect any. Our hope must be directed toward the resurrection at the Last Day. But this is a founded hope. For we have the words and promises of God. We have God’s manifestation in Jesus Christ. We know that this same Jesus who claimed to be the Resurrection and the Life was dead and buried just a few days after this incident. We know that He died to redeem us from death, to atone for our sins, and to make it possible for us to be born again of water and the Spirit, to have a new life which transcends the power of temporal death. Above all, we know that Christ rose from the dead on Easter and said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” His words were not vain and empty. For God’s Word is action and accomplishment. (Wayne Saffen)