Once again, we will continue in our study of three-word phrases from the lips of our Savior, which are recorded in the Gospel of John. In this study, we discover Three Encouraging Words for the Weary – “Come and dine” (John 21:12).
In the story, which provides the setting for this statement of the Savior, we are told of Peter’s decision to go fishing. He is joined by other disciples, and though they toil through the night, their efforts are in vain, for “they caught nothing” (John 21:3). In the morning, Jesus appears and instructs them to cast on the right side of the ship, and they enclose so many fish that they cannot pull in the net. Peter realizes that this is the Lord and hastily dons his coat and leaps into the water to come to the shore.
I believe that Peter could be characterized as being weary. Physically weary from the labors of the night; emotionally weary from his repeated failures; mentally weary from the effort to figure out why he had fallen and what it meant for the future; in reality, weary with life. Have we not all been there, just totally and completely exhausted?
I think of the Old Testament account of the great prophet Elijah, who, after his Carmel experience, finds himself spent, out of fight and out of faith, and wishes for death (I Kings 19:4-18). It is a reality of life in this fleshly tabernacle that weariness and exhaustion come to us all. Peter is no exception. In this hour of the weary soul, hear what Jesus says, “Come and dine.”
This reminds us of His Perception – He knows. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). He knows what we are going through. He understands the frailty of our flesh. The Psalmist declared, “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). The hymn writer, John W. Peterson, wrote,
No one understands like Jesus, Every woe He sees and feels; Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals.
This simple invitation by Jesus to “Come and dine” also reminds us of His Passion – He cares. It was not only that He was aware of Peter’s condition, but He was also touched by it. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37), the priest was cognizant of the man’s plight, the Levite was curious, but only the Samaritan cared about it. Jesus is more than just aware; He is moved by the condition of those who are in need. What’s more, He longs to get involved.
Finally, Jesus’ invitation reminds us of His Provision – He has sufficient supply to meet our needs. What Peter and the disciples needed, Jesus provided. The seven miracles of Christ which are recorded by John before the crucifixion reveal the truth that Christ can meet the need in every situation. The wedding party had no wine (John 2); the nobleman’s son had no health (John 4); the impotent man had no strength (John 5); the multitude had no bread (John 6); in the storm, the disciples had no power (John 6); the blind man had no sight (John 9); and Lazarus had no life (John 11), but Jesus met every need!
Peter’s need was two-fold – physical and spiritual. Jesus met both needs that day. For his physical weariness, Jesus provided bread and fish. For his spiritual weariness, Jesus offered restoration and reenlistment. As the Psalmist stated, “He restoreth my soul” (Psalm 23:3).
Have you grown weary and worn with the grind of life? Are the cares and troubles of this world weighing you down until you don’t want to go on? Peter knows where you are, and this is his counsel, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” (I Peter 5:7). As Frank E. Graeff expresses it,
O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.
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Bro. Burcham served as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College before answering the call to pastor the Mountain Vista Baptist Church in Sierra Vista, AZ. Pastor Burcham travels each week to teach the next generation at GSBC. Before coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for several years and then pastored in Missouri.