The Parable of the Net of Fish Made Simple – Matthew 13:47-50
Jesus told a parable of a net of fish where the men caught a big catch and they sorted the fish into piles of good and bad fish. The bad they threw out and the good they put into vessels. This is a look at how this plays out in your life.
The parable starts in Matthew 13:47 and goes to verse 50. I read:
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
First of all, Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, when he was on earth, that the Kingdom had come near. He also said that the Kingdom of God is within you. Jesus was stressing that the Kingdom of God was not something to be found or searched out, that it was close at hand. The gospel of Jesus is that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the Kingdom.
When we get to this short parable Jesus has been talking about the Kingdom of God in former verses. First of all, he's on a series of things to say about the Kingdom of God. First he said the parable of the tares and the weeds. A farmer went out to sow seeds. He came out later on, a couple of days later, and there were tares. There were weeds growing amongst his wheat. He then waited for the tares to grow fully and the wheat to grow fully. Then, at that time, he sent in the harvesters to rip out the tares and then to gather the wheat. And the tares were thrown into the fire. That's a description of the fact that the world that we live in is the field. The wheat, that is grown, is the people who have become Christians. The tares are the people who are in the world, they hear the message of the gospel but they still remain hardened to it and don't grow up into maturity and bring forth fruit that proves that they're Christian. Everyone is given the opportunity but some people don't become Christians.
Then he goes on and he says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field that a man finds. He goes and sells everything he has to possess that treasure, to buy the field and then own the treasure. Jesus is alluding there that the Kingdom of God can be preached to a person. The Kingdom of God is preached to the world, to the Australians, to the Americans, to people from every nation. It is the actual person's choice to enter the Kingdom. Through the parable of the treasure, we see that you just can't enter the Kingdom of God with one happy decision. It's a decision that carries some weight. Any person who makes the decision for Christ without considering that they've got to give they're sin lifestyle away and that their faith in Jesus, their Christian faith, is going to cost them things, is a person who's faith doesn't last for long and falls away. The people of the world are given an opportunity and they've got to know that they've got to give their Christian faith everything they have.
Jesus goes on in verse 45 to say that the Kingdom of God is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought the pearl of great price.
The pearl of great price is Jesus Christ. This man once again sold all the pearls that he had up until this one and bought the pearl of great price. This guy was collecting pearls. In the world, people collect sports. They collect religions. They collect philosophy. But when the gospel was presented with the fact that Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth and the light and no man comes to the Father except through me. So in a way, when you decide to follow Christ, you've got to give every other thought, belief or philosophy away to possess Christ.
Now we move on to the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind. The dragnet is the preaching of the gospel of God. You remember, Peter was told to lay down the net on the shore. He laid it down and caught so many fish that it almost broke the net. Jesus was showing a parable here of what this parable means. In the gospel, he said, Peter would become a fisher of men. This is what this parable means. The dragnet here is the gospel going out on TV, on radio, through Christian's lives witnessing to other people. The dragnet is the gospel going out to the world.
Now, it says that it catches fish, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they threw away. In other words, the gospel is preached to every person. Now every person hears the gospel.
Everyone hears the message that Jesus Christ is the answer; Jesus Christ is the one you need to submit to. There's no purpose in life without Jesus Christ.
Everyone is told that message, is caught up with that message. So you can therefore say that the dragnet, the gospel, catches all of the fish. Now, the fish that the gospel doesn't transform into good, righteous and holy living fish, the fish that the gospel doesn't transform people into lives that radiate love and abundance and sharing and all the good things of being a Christian, these fish that don't change their behavior as a result of hearing the gospel, these are the bad fish.
Jesus is fair. He shares his message. He shares his good news with everyone. Once you were caught in sin, yet, everyone, listen up. Jesus says, Every one of you have troubles with life and you do bad things. I'm the answer to bad things. I'm the answer, he says, to your broken life and disappointed dreams. I'm the one who holds your future in my hands. I'm the one who can help you with your destiny. I'm the one. Come to me all who are weary with life and who have heavy burdens. All who are weighed down with the burdens of the world, come to me.
The people who share the Gospel come with that message. Are you suffering? Are you tired? Have you got a meaningless life? Have you got a life without purpose? Do you want to know why you are living? Come to me, the living God. Come to me, the Son of God, who had come to earth and lived the life of purpose and miraculous power. Come to me.
So the gospel goes out to the people. The Gospel is the message, the good news. It goes out to all of the people. Some of the people hear the message and reject that message and continue to be sinners. They continue to do the bad things.
Not everyone always does bad things. People do good things. They fall in love. They make money. They have success. Oftentimes, Christians are very successful, but oftentimes people in the world can be more successful financially. They can seem to have better families. They can seem to share more love. When Jesus talks about the wicked here, it is not talking so much to say that everything they do is wrong. What Jesus is referring to in wickedness here is a person who's been given the opportunity to become beautiful and loving and a better person and blatantly refuses to.
So this casting out this net and sorting out the good from the bad is a parable, is an image of what's going to happen at the end of the world. At the end of the world, at the end of the age when Jesus says, it is time, the angels will come forth and separate the wicked from among the just. They'll come and take all the people off the face of earth. Those who haven't decided to follow Jesus, those who've heard the message like this and have decided: No, I'm not going to submit my life. No, I'm not going to sell all my precious things to possess Jesus Christ. No, I'm not going to give away my philosophies and my other religious ideas in order to embrace the faith of Jesus Christ. No, I am not going to lay my life down to serve Jesus Christ, a man I've never met. No, I'm not going to do that. Those people who have been given the opportunity are going to be cast into hell and that's a sad thing.
So, what is the application of that? One of the applications of that is the reason Jesus told this parable to Christians is that it's your job to cast that net out to the world. It's your job to be a light on the hill. It's your job to shine the light of Jesus Christ. It's your job to be good and faithful to people, to love them, to forgive them, to treat them with integrity and with love and tremendous compassion. It's your job to tell a person the reason why you do such things, the reason why you're nice when they ask, it's you're job to say, It's not me. It's Christ in me. It's the fact that Jesus loves me that radiates out of me. What you see different about me to other people isn't so much me; it's the effect that Jesus is having on my life. Do you want to know Jesus? Do you want to know how to live a life like me? Do you want to change like I have?
It's as simple as that folks. All you need to do is shine your light. All you've got to do is go out into the world and shine your light in the world. Be different. Be kind, forgiving, and loving. Be a hard worker. Be the hardest worker in your job. Be the hardest worker that people have seen. Be the most conscientious worker. Have the time to train other workers and come along other workers and help them with their job. If you can do a job well, teach others how to do the job well. If you can see fault in ways people are doing their job, help them become better. Show them the fault in a loving way and teach them how to work better. Help other people get creations. Help other people apply for jobs. Whatever you're good at, help other people with. Not everyone has to preach the Gospel to be preaching the Gospel. You're part of the dragnet. You're one of the people that Jesus has depended on to save this world, to give the message to the broken hearted. Will you do it?
The reason for this parable is not just to understand that one time Jesus is going to come back and bring the Christians to Heaven and send the non-Christians to hell. Just knowing what this parable means, what I spent the first few pages explaining, that's not the purpose of this parable. The purpose of this parable, the reason Jesus told this parable, is he needs you to cast that net out into the world. He needs you to be part of that net.
You know, a net is made up of many strings and they're all sewn together to make a big net. Not one or two or three or four strings can make a net, but many strings bonded together and held together with sewing holds the net together. The bigger the net that goes out the more fish that can be brought in. In a little African village, they only throw a little net out by hand. They catch a few fish. In the oceans of countries, they take boats out to deep oceans and they throw massive nets out into the sea and they catch a lot more fish.
You need to be part of that net. You need to go out and share your love. You need to get this article and send it, this chapter and send it to a friend. Go and do your part. Fulfill this parable. God bless you.