After Jesus was crucified, the women noted where He was laid to rest (Luke 23.55), then went home and prepared spices and ointments; but they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment (Luke 23.56).
These were Jewish women, likely able to trace their lineage back centuries to their original tribe, just like any other orthodox Jew. Their ancestors had received The Law straight from Moses / straight from God, and their adherence to it was the basis of their relationship to God Himself.
And so, in obedience, they waited until after the Sabbath was over. That begins a chapter in each of the gospels: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20. Unsuspecting, they had a discussion along the way of how they could get that stone rolled away from the tomb. They likely thought the guards would let them in to anoint Him, seeing as how they were women and unable to steal the body.
None of their recorded discussion centered around “What if the body isn’t there?”.
They were astounded and nonplussed to find 1) the stone rolled away, 2) no body in the tomb, and 3) an angel telling them that “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”
Because of their devotion and obedience, they received the astounding blessing of being the first to discover that Jesus had, indeed, arisen. These women were entrusted with the directive to go and tell the others.
These Jewish women may not have felt the least inclination to break the Sabbath and anoint Jesus’ body the day after He died. They were firmly entrenched in The Law and Tradition, and they simply never broke the Sabbath, out of habit if nothing else.
For those of us outside orthodox religion, we might consider other circumstances: Jesus had just been crucified in an untimely, cruel, and unjust manner. Did they not feel a tug at their hearts that, just this once, it was okay to anoint His body, even though it was the Sabbath? That surely God would give them leniency, given that this man had claimed to be the very Son of God? Did they not love Him so much that they were drawn to be that near to Him? We can, in our minds, rationalize a whole host of really great “reasons” to do what is right in our eyes.
What if they had not been obedient? What would they have found at the tomb? The stone with its seal would still have been there. The guards posted by Pilate and the Pharisees would still have been there. They would not have been able to enter. Even if they had been able, they would have found and anointed a dead body.
But they were obedient. They put aside whatever feelings or logic they may have had otherwise, and they obeyed God’s fourth commandment of the Ten.
Obedience works just the same now-a-days as it did back then. Obey out of habit, stiff-necked obedience, obey out of love, obey because of fear of man: no matter, as long as it is GOD you are obeying.
You just never know what blessings will follow obedience.