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The Parable of The Net of Fish Made Simple

(Matthew 13:47-50)

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 fish 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. When he was on earth, Jesus said that the Kingdom had come near. He also said that this Kingdom is within you. Jesus was stressing that the Kingdom of God was not something to be found or searched out; but that it was close at hand. The Gospel of Jesus is that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the Kingdom.

Before getting to this short parable, Jesus had been talking about the Kingdom of God in former verses. He was on a series of things to say about the Kingdom. First, He said about the parable of the tares and the weeds. A farmer went out to sow seeds. He came out a couple of days later, and there were tares. There were weeds growing amongst his wheat. He then waited for the tares 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 Christians. Everyone is given the opportunity but some people don’t become Christians because they refuse salvation.

Then Jesus goes on and 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 own it. 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 their sin lifestyle away and that 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 have 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 as likened to a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some fish of every kind. The dragnet is the preaching of the gospel of God. You remember when 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 some meaning here. 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 and they hear it. Everyone hears the message that Jesus Christ is the answer; He is the one you need to submit to; there’s no purpose in life without Him.

Everyone is told of that message. So you can therefore say that the dragnet, the Gospel, catches all of the fish. Now, the fish that don’t transform into good, righteous and holy living, the fish that don’t change their lives to radiate love, abundance, 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 - they are the bad fish.

Jesus is fair. He shares His message. He shares His good news with everyone. Are you caught in sin and despair? If so, 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.” (Matthew 11:28)

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. It is the message, the good news. It goes out to all of the people. Some of them hear the message but reject it 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. Many 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 but blatantly refuses to.

So this casting out of the net and sorting out the good from the bad is an image of what’s going to happen 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? The reason Jesus told this parable to Christians is that it’s our job to cast that net out to the world. It’s our job to be a light on a hill. It’s our job to shine the light of Jesus Christ. It’s our job to be good and faithful to people, to love them, forgive them, treat them with integrity and tremendous compassion. It’s our job to tell a person the reason why we do such things, why we’re nice. When they ask why, it’s our job to say, “It’s not me. It’s Christ in me. It’s the fact that Jesus loves me and radiates out of me. What you see different about me from other people isn’t so much about 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 go out into the world and shine your light. 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. If you can see fault in ways people are doing their job, help them become better. Show them the fault in a loving way. 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 bring salvation. 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. The purpose of this parable is not just knowing what it parable means. The reason Jesus told this 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 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 and held together. The bigger the net that goes out, the more fish 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.

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