From among the many mysteries surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, this one here is quite an intriguing one too.
An often neglected or overlooked point in the matter of Jesus' resurrection, is the way in which Mary Magdalene finds out that Jesus is missing from the tomb on the early sunday morning and how he later reappears to her and his disciples.
How he reappears is a question debatable itself because each of the four gospel writers propose a different series of events around his resurrection and reappearance which in no way possible fuse to form a single narration of a single event, (however tried from which ever angle!) each narration of this event is so diverse that they do not gel together at all.
But in solving things of this kind, a lot of subtleties are overlooked.....like...why on earth did Mary go to the tomb on the morning of Sunday, that too, carrying spices with her???
1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" (Holy Bible Mark 16:1-3)
An important thing overlooked here is, as to why did Mary Magdalene carry spices with her? What need did she see to anoint an already dead Jesus with spices. Is this a custom of the Jews? Was she following a common Jewish custom in willing to anoint Jesus with those spices?
Here one might ask as to why should Magdalene be following the Jewish customs, was Jesus buried according to Jewish customs? Well the obvious answer is yes, Jewish customs were followed in burying Jesus.
40Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (Holy Bible John 19:40)
To anoint a dead body with spices at the time of burial is indeed a Jewish custom and this was followed for Jesus too, as understood from the above verse....but to anoint an already anointed, wrapped and buried body with spices is not a custom, neither of the Jews nor of any other religious group.
Then why did Mary take spices with her? A very satisfying answer comes as we observe the fact that Mary was one of the people following the customs being carried while burying Jesus in the first place.An example to this effect is the following verse:
46So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. (Holy Bible Mark 15:46-47)
So is there a possibility that she had noticed signs of life in him while burying him, but obviously could not shout out this fact for the fear of the Jews, instead came out after the end of the sabbath to anoint a Jesus she believed to be alive? Indeed a very apt explanation of her unique behavior.
An answer to this question is needed before all others are answered. No other answer fits as does the above proposed one, all others will be solved once this is answered.