“The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke 23:55-56).
During Jesus’ three years of ministry on earth, He gathered a decent amount of followers. The most well-known are the twelve disciples, those men who went with Him everywhere and learned things that no one else heard. But there were also a group of women who followed Jesus. This group included Mary Magdalene, the mother of James and John, and Jesus’ own mother. They were present at His crucifixion. After He died, they readied spices to put on His body, in accordance with custom. But because Jesus died the day before the Sabbath, they couldn’t do this immediately. They had to wait a full day before they could care for Jesus one last time.
That Sabbath must have been an agonizing day for them. It would have been so much easier to toss aside this commandment and take care of Jesus’ body. After all, Jesus had broken Sabbath regulations numerous times, doing things like healing people and allowing His disciples to pluck heads of grain on the Sabbath. But the women chose to be obedient to the law. They kept the Sabbath and rested, just as God had commanded.
And what a reward they had for their obedience! When they went to the tomb early the next morning, they found the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and men dressed in brilliant clothing telling them that Jesus had risen from the dead. These women, faithful to the very end, were the first to learn of Jesus’ resurrection. If they had decided to break the Sabbath and prepare His body the day after He died, they would have missed this glorious moment. They would have had no reason to be at the tomb that morning. They would have lost the blessing of being the ones to tell everyone else about the resurrection. But they were faithful to God’s law, even when it was difficult. And because of their obedience, they were richly blessed.