Verse of the Day Devotion Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea and gathering fish of every kind.
Today we will look at the parable of the net. Here is this parable as found in Matthew’s gospel.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:44.
In Matthew chapter thirteen, Jesus is sitting by the sea and teaching crowds through the use of parables. There were probably fishermen there which would have been able to understand the intent of the message. Starting with our focus verse we read, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea and gathering fish of every kind.” Matthew 13:47. This parable addresses the intermingling of good and bad at that time, in our present time and the certainty of their separation at the end of the age upon Christ’s return. The net referred to here was a large dragnet spread out over a considerable area of water. A good catch of fish would require strenuous effort to haul to shore. This parable though does not focus on the net, but on the catch. The idea regards bringing all the people together, comprised of both what is valuable and what is valueless. There is no discrimination about netting fish; everything in the area, good and bad alike, is caught up.
Now, putting out the net is the first process, but then comes the gathering of the net to the shore with all the fish enclosed. The net is said to be filled, which was denoted as a good catch. It is drawn up on the beach, so Jesus is speaking of the hauling in of the fish at the end of the operation. Then they would sit on the beach and sort out the fish. The good ones would be put into baskets. The bad fish were thrown away, for they had no value and there was nothing else they could do with them.
Now in the last two verses, Jesus explains what He meant in the first two verses. He starts by saying in the same way. In other words, this was a picture of the end times. It speaks of two very distinct groups of people. Just as the net is drawn up with every type of fish in the sea, both good and bad, so will all the people be gathered together for judgement, both the righteousness and the evil. It is important to remember that the division has nothing to do with merit, based on our own efforts. The righteous are those who follow Jesus and depend on God’s mercy for they know their shortcomings can only be addressed through the shed blood of Christ. In contrast, the wicked are those who rely on their own merit and believe they can do enough to be saved. Jesus then says that the angels will come and take out the wicked from the righteous, just as the fisherman separated the bad fish from the good. And just as the bad fish was discarded, the evil ones, those who did not accept the work of Christ and relied on themselves and other ways to be made right with God would be cast into the lake of fire, where it says there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It is important that we do not rely on our goodness to save us. Just as a bad fish cannot become a good fish by what they do, wicked and unrighteous people cannot make themselves righteous based on what they do. Only God, through the shed blood of Christ, can turn us from evil to good. And He wants to do this for all people. But we must rely on Him to make it happen. This message must be spread to all so they understand this truth. And that is where we come in.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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