Sermon quotes on the disciples

Frederick Buechner

The first ministers were the twelve disciples. There is no evidence that Jesus chose them because they are brighter or nicer than other people. Their sole qualification seems to have been their initial willingness to rise to their feet when Jesus said, “Follow me.”

Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith, Zondervan, 2009, p.259.

Dorothy Day

It is cheering to remember that Jesus Christ wandered this earth with no place to lay his head. “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air their nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” And when we consider our fly-by-night existence, our uncertainty, we remember (with pride in sharing the honor) that the disciples supped the seashore and wandered through cornfields picking the ears from the stalks wherewith to make their frugal meals.

Editorial in the first issue of The Catholic Worker, May 1993.

Stanley Hauerwas

It’s hard to remember that Jesus did not come to make us safe, but rather to make us disciples, citizens of God’s new age, a kingdom of surprise.

Taken from Religion News Service, “Book Probes Post-Sept. 11 Spirituality”

Howard G. Hendricks

Every disciple needs three types of relationships in his life. He needs a ‘Paul’ who can mentor him and challenge him. He needs a ‘Barnabas’ who can come along side and encourage him. And he needs a ‘Timothy,’ someone that he can pour his life into.

John Lennon (For Contrast)

Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.

Jeff Burger, John Lennon, Lennon On Lennon: Conversations With John Lennon, Omnibus Press, 2017, p.15.

Paul E. Little

Every one of the disciples faced the test of torture, and all but the apostle John were martyred for their teachings and beliefs. People will die for what they believe to be true, though it may actually be false. They do not, however, die for what they know is a lie. If ever a person tells the truth, it is on his or her deathbed.

Taken from Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little Copyright (c) 2008 p.64 by Paul E. Little. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.

Max Lucado

We need to remember that the first disciples were ordinary men called to an extraordinary mission. Their devotion to Jesus outweighed- by hair- their fears and insecurities. As a result God change them and use them to accomplish some mind-boggling things. Why couldn’t God – why wouldn’t God do the same in your life?

Pablo Picasso (for Contrast)

Disciples be damned. It’s not interesting. It’s only the masters that matter. Those who create.

Picasso on Art: A Selection of Views, Viking Adult, 1972.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Amazed, bewildered, they are gathered around him, whose pondered resolution comes to rest, withdrawing him from all the ties that bound him–a stranger gliding by with thoughts unguessed. He feels that former loneliness drawn near in which the deep command was comprehended; again the olive slope shall be ascended, and those that love him shall depart in fear. 

To the last meal of all they’ve been invited; and (as a shot will scare some new-alighted flock from the wheat) their feeding hands, affrighted from the detail portions by his prophecy, fly up to him and flutter in despair round the round table to escape. But he, like the still twilight hour, is everywhere.

Rilke: Poems (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series), Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.

Fleming Rutledge

An apostle (Greek apostolos) was a disciple who had been promoted; A disciple is a follower, but an apostle is a fully commissioned ambassador.

Not Ashamed of the Gospel: Sermons from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Eerdmans Publishing, 2007.

John Stott

Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus Christ is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection. It was the resurrection which transformed Peter’s fear into courage and James’ doubt into faith…It was the resurrection which changed Saul the Pharisee into the Paul the apostle and turned his persecuting into preaching.

R.V. G. Tasker

The disciples are to be a moral disinfectant in a world where moral standards are low, constantly changing, or non-existent.

The Gospel According to St Matthew, (Tyndale New Testament Commentary; InterVarsity Press, 1961.

John Stott

If I withhold mercy, I have lost touch with the gospel. I have lost touch with God’s undeserved kindness and pardon.


Dallas Willard

A disciple is a learner, a student, an apprentice – a practitioner… Disciples of Jesus are people who do not just profess certain views as their own but apply their growing understanding of life in the Kingdom of the Heavens to every aspect of their life on earth.

The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship, Harper Collins, 2009, p.9.

St. John Chrysostom

The disciples are tossed on the waves again. They are in a storm, fully as bad as the previous one. Gently and by degrees he excites and urges the disciples on toward greater responsiveness, even to the point of bearing all things nobly. Whereas in the previous storm they had him with them in the ship, now they were alone by themselves…Now he is leading them into a greater degree of challenge…This was all for their training, that they might not look for some easy hope of preservation from any earthly source…He cast them directly into a situation in which they would have a greater longing for him and a continual remembrance of him.

The Gospel of Matthew Homily 50.1, from The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture