After Jesus’ death on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea went to the Roman governor Pilate to request Jesus’ body. Nicodemus, the Pharisee who had visited Jesus at night to ask questions about God’s Kingdom, accompanied Joseph. The two men were granted custody of Jesus’ body, and they immediately began to prepare the body for burial. Nicodemus brought 75 pounds of spices for use in preparing the body for burial and then assisted Joseph in wrapping the body and placing it in the tomb. The sheer amount of burial spices would seem to indicate that Nicodemus was a rich man and that he had great respect for Jesus:
Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight (John 19:39).
Following Jewish custom, they wrapped the body in strips of linen and mixed in myrrh and aloe. However, it was the Day of Preparation—the sixth day of the week, just before the Jewish Sabbath—and it was late in the day. So Joseph and Nicodemus hurriedly placed Jesus in Joseph’s own tomb, located in a garden near the place of Jesus’ crucifixion.
It was not until early on the first day of the week (our Sunday) that the women came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus:
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him (Mark 16:1).
Did the women not know that Joseph and Nicodemus had already prepared Jesus' body for burial? Or was the act of anointing Jesus' body different from the Jewish tradition of preparing a body for burial?
What is the significance in the women wanting to anoint the body of Jesus?