Dragnet, Dum De Dum Dum

Parables of Jesus for the Modern Pilgrim

The Parable of the Fishing Net

(For those who don’t get the inference of this blog title…)

Matthew 13:47-52

Jesus again turns the follower’s attention to the end of time. This parable is about judgment at the end of the age.

The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a fishing net. This net is cast into the water, sinks to the bottom, and drags along sweeping up all the fish. It is dragged onto the shore and the catch is sorted. The good fish are kept, and the bad fish are thrown away.

Jesus continues with the interpretation so there is no denying the meaning. Like the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13:24-29), the angels are deployed to separate the “wicked” from the “righteous.” The wicked will be thrown into fire.

Jesus turns to the disciples and asks, “Do you understand these things?”

I can imagine them shaking their heads “no” while saying, “Yes, we do.”

So Jesus adds a mini-parable to bring his point home.

“Every teacher of religious law who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom of Heaven is like a homeowner who brings from his storeroom new gems as well as old.”

Jesus reminds them that even in the midst of all the new they are learning about the Kingdom, they are not to forget the storehouse of gems from the old covenant. As teachers, they will be putting the two together, bringing all truth about the Kingdom to have the full picture.  (See Matthew 5:17-20.)

Lessons for the Modern Pilgrim

  • All the fish were caught in the net. No one will be left out of the in-gathering that will take place at the end of time. God, in His mercy, is waiting until the fullness of His plan is done. Although there are signs of the times, no one knows for sure when this will be.

Be ready.

  • There was not a pond of “wicked” fish and a pond of “righteous” fish. All the fish were together. Like the parable of the wheat and the weeds, the righteous are to be among the wicked. The Church cannot separate herself into an untouchable community. Jesus told us to be in the world but not of it. (John 17:13-19) We are to live out the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, being patient and tolerant with our fellow man. Only God will direct the sorting of the righteous and wicked.
  • The lessons of the Kingdom are gems from old and new. Don’t throw out what you’ve known in order to receive the new. Old and new work together to supply abundant blessing to all who hear it. The Kingdom of Heaven is full of “yes, and…”

Parables about the end of time are sobering. Jesus spoke of them so we would be fully aware of God’s ultimate plan. May they wake us out of our complacency and revive and urgency about the Kingdom of Heaven. Our time on earth is limited.

What are we doing with the days of our watch?

May Jesus find us faithful to spread the Good News of His love for all who will receive it. May we have ears to hear and eyes to see.

May compassion be the catch of the day!