Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, In the Company of Jesus: Characters in Mark’s Gospel (Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), 60.
Within the Markan story, only the women follow Jesus to the end. At Gethsemane one of the twelve betrays Jesus (14:43-45) and the remaining eleven forsake him (14:50). The women, on the other hand, witness the crucifixion – though “from afar” (15:40-41) – and the empty tomb (16:1-8). Experience of the crucifixion and resurrection is central to followship. Again, it is frequently argued that the fact that it is a Roman centurion who recognizes the crucified Jesus as “Son of God” suggests the surprising openness of the Christian faith to the Gentile world. Could it not also be argued that the fact that it is the women disciples/followers who follow to the end suggest the surprising openness of Christian disciples/followship to all people?