The Fishing Net
27 March 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 13:47-52 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. 48 When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. 49 That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, 50 throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 Do you understand all these things?” “Yes,” they said, “we do.” 52 Then he added, “Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems of truth as well as old.” (Matthew 13:47–52 NLT)
It’s really important to notice that in all these stories, Jesus is saying the Kingdom of Heaven is “like” something we can understand: a pearl, a treasure, a fishing net. He is not saying, the Kingdom of Heaven “is” a pearl, a treasure, or a fishing net. The Kingdom of Heaven is not limited to being any or even all of these things. The point is that there are some aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven that can be grasped more easily when we use a “like” to describe that truth.
This story has the same meaning as the story of the wheat and the weeds growing together. The net caught every kind of fish. Just as in the story of the wheat (good) and weeds (bad), the fish, both good and bad, are people. We identify as the wheat or the good fish, but we are not the ones to determine who else is good (in) and who else is bad (out). We only see the outward appearance and not the heart. The fish sorting isn’t up to the fish! So relax and enjoy being a fish and not a fish sorter!
The teacher who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom of Heaven brings new gems of truth as well as old. Jesus affirms the old, but says the new is better. The old is rules; the new is relationship. The old is law; the new is spirit. It’s clear that there were teachers of religious law that didn’t become disciples in the Kingdom of Heaven because they were trapped in the old and blind to the new. They were stuck, unwilling and unable to learn and grow and change. Question for us: How are we doing with that? Let’s be unstuck, able to learn and grow and change!
Father, Thank you that the Kingdom net is open wide. Thanks that it’s open for me and my friends to enter. Please help us to use our influence to keep the net open and accessible for as many others as possible. For your Kingdom’s Sake!