Early morning sunrise is one of the best parts of the day, especially if you’ve been up all night, don’t you agree? After fishing all night, I’m sure the disciples were ready to call it a night, especially when they hadn’t caught a thing. It was time to go home.
The evening before, some of Jesus’ disciples had been together. We know there were seven of them, but we only know some of their names: Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, and James and John (the sons of Zebedee). Two others were also along but are not named.
I wonder if it was boredom or restlessness that caused Peter to say, “I’m going fishing.”
Peter knew about fishing. He’d been doing it all his life, had made a business out of it. The water was his friend. His friends decided to join him, so they went – all of them. Back to what was familiar, to what they used to do before Jesus; back to what was comfortable, to what was easy because it came naturally because of who they were.
After a night on the sea, they were heading home. Then the Man standing on the shore asked them if they had anything to eat. Their answer was no. So He told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. They did. And immediately their nets were full.
Peter had seen that kind of miracle before, and there was no doubt in his mind that this Man was Jesus. Wasting not a moment, he donned his fisherman’s cloak and jumped into the water. The others came straggling along in the boat the remaining 300-some feet, dragging their catch of 153 fish.
Jesus was waiting for them. He was ready for them. How did He know they’d been fishing in those waters? How did He know where to find them?
Along the seashore, waves lapping on the beach, He had a fire with coals. And bread. And fish. Just what a fisherman needed after working all night! It was all there, ready for them. I can imagine the aroma from those coals, the fish, and the bread.
Sitting by the side of the sea, a conversation ensued among the disciples and this man Jesus Who had just recently come back to life after His death. I’m sure they were still trying to figure out what to do, how to act, and where to go since their Dream had died and come back to life.
It seems there was some unfinished business to tend to. Peter and Jesus, eating together somewhere along the shore, had a conversation. Jesus questioned Peter’s love for Him. Was it because Peter had denied Him, not once or twice, but thrice?
Did Jesus want to reinforce His love and forgiveness to Peter, especially after his denial of not only a friendship, but of any type of relationship? When we take the time to come to His table, Jesus makes sure that our unfinished business gets finished.
As they pull up to shore, He beckons, “Come – and dine.” Come on over, sit a spell, eat your fill. You are welcome here at My table.
So they came. They dined. They were filled. And refilled. And healed.
There are days when it seems there is distance between me and my Lord. It’s my signal to come and sit at His table and ask Him to show me what I’m missing.
Have I been fishing from the wrong side of the boat? Have I gone back to my old familiar haunts without His blessing? Have I, in my actions or attitude, denied that I know Him?
It’s an open invitation along the shore of life. Jesus continues to invite each of us: Come and dine. All we need is an appetite for the feast He has prepared for us along the riptides of our lives. If we are hungry for Him, we can feast, and we will be filled.
The table has already been set. He invites us today just like He invited His disciples several thousand years ago: Come . . . and dine. The table is set. Don’t be late!
You can read the story in the Gospel of John, chapter 21.
A minister, Charles B. Widmeyer, wrote the song Come and Dine. He was going to be preaching a sermon from John 21 and he wrote the song to go along with his sermon.
You can listen to Gary Chapman sing the song here.
- Jesus has a table spread
Where the saints of God are fed,
He invites His chosen people, “Come and dine”;
With His manna He doth feed
And supplies our every need:
Oh, ’tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!
“Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”;
You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time;
He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.”
- The disciples came to land,
Thus obeying Christ’s command,
For the Master called unto them, “Come and dine”;
There they found their heart’s desire,
Bread and fish upon the fire;
Thus He satisfies the hungry every time.
- Soon the Lamb will take His bride
To be ever at His side,
All the host of heaven will assembled be;
Oh, ’twill be a glorious sight,
All the saints in spotless white;
And with Jesus they will feast eternally.