The last thing they expected to find on the first day of the week was an empty tomb.
The Jews of that day placed great importance on the proper handling of the body of the deceased family member or friend. It was how they showed respect for their loved one, and it was how they showed reverence for God.
This would have been particularly true for those who followed Jesus, as He had taught them more than reverential fear of God. Jesus had ushered in the new notion of reverential love for their Father – Who is in heaven.
And so, with reverential love for Jesus – as for His Father – they approached the tomb where He had been lain three days prior, with their only anticipation being to anoint His body with burial spices customary of their day.
(We remember Joseph and Nicodemus, two ruling members of the Sanhedrin, had requested the body of Jesus from Pilate. They had respectfully removed His dead body from the cross, washed it carefully and lovingly, wrapped it in burial cloths, and placed it in an unused tomb owned by Joseph, who was a man of wealth. This caring for the body of Jesus had been rushed as it was the preparation day for the Sabbath, and all needed to be completed prior to sundown.)
So these ladies, who loved Jesus so well, were on their way to the tomb to finish the anointing of His body. It was very early in the morning, the hour itself indicating their urgent desire to complete this reverent task.
Even among His closest followers there was no anticipation of His resurrection. None.
This fact would be an embarrassment – and surely would not have been included in the historical accounts had it not been true. Mythical and fictional accounts always make heroes of their main characters.
Of all the bodies that have been born in the history of the world, there is only one body that cannot be accounted for and never found.
When the women arrived at the tomb, they found it empty. Everything Jesus had said was true! Jesus was risen from the dead! He IS the firstfruits of all who choose to follow Him!