Q. Mark 16:1 says spices were bought after the Sabbath for anointing Jesus. Luke 23:54-56 seems to say that spices were prepared to anoint the body before the Sabbath. If Jesus was crucified on Thursday there would be two consecutive Sabbaths where no work was allowed. I am confused about this. Can you help clarify it?
A. When the Bible seems to give differing accounts of the same event it’s likely that both are true. John 19:39 says that Nicodemus brought 75 pounds of spices with him when he came to help Joseph carry the Lord’s body to the tomb before the Sabbath. The women who were there could have taken some home to prepare. Or, having known all day that Jesus was dying, they could have purchased some earlier in the day.
As for Mark 16:1, the weekly Sabbath ended at sunset on Saturday. Even today shops and restaurants in Israel open and do a brisk business on Saturday evening. If the women needed more spices they would have been able to purchase them at that time.