“And very early on the first day of the week.” This is Sunday, the 18th of Nisan, and the sun had just risen, although it says it was very early, and Luke 24:1 says it was “deep dawn,” that is, when the sun was just up. Mark 16:1 says the women bought spices after the Sabbath (the special Sabbath that was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which fell on Thursday that year). So the women bought the spices on Friday. Now in 16:2 it is Sunday morning just after sunrise and the women are coming to the tomb to properly bury Jesus. They did not know Nicodemus had come and done that already (see commentary on John 19:40). Mary Magdalene had come earlier, while it was still dark, seen the empty tomb, and left (see commentary on John 20:1 and Matt. 27:61). However, the events of the morning had altered Mary’s plans considerably. She did not expect to find an empty tomb and did not expect to meet the Lord. She left the area before these women arrived there.
These women arrived at the tomb “at early dawn” “when the sun had risen,” so they would have gotten together and prepared to go to the tomb at about the same time that Peter and John had seen the empty tomb with their own eyes (John 20:4-9). Had Peter and John come back to this group of women and reported that the tomb was empty, they would not have taken the spices to the tomb in the first place. Luke starts with “they” and does not mention Mary Magdalene at all. That “they” refers to the group of women apart from Mary Magdalene is clear from the fact these women were carrying the spices. There is not a problem with these women coming to the tomb and not meeting with Mary Magdalene, Peter, or the other disciple on their way back to Bethany. There were many footpaths on the Mount of Olives, and it would have been very easy to the women to take one while Mary, Peter, and the other disciple took another.