The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…a Net

Matthew 13:47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.

In Jesus’ day, fishing was a common livelihood.  Boats went out into a lake or a sea with nets attached.  The nets would have weights at the bottom and corks at the top to keep the nets extended.  The two boats worked together to take the half-circle of net and using its long ropes, drag the net ashore.  The net would have all kinds and sizes of different fish in it.  Only the very smallest of fish would be able to swim through the openings in the nets.

When the fishermen arrived on the beach with their catch, they’d begin sorting the fish into categories:  good fish and bad fish.  Good fish were put into stone or clay basins.  The unclean fish (those without scales or fins, see Deuteronomy 14:9-10) would be thrown away.

Jesus says that this kingdom likeness refers to the end of earthly time.  There will be a gathering of the visible church (like a net filled with all kinds of fish), but then there will also be a purifying.  Jesus does not look at the net and see a bunch of dud-fish that are only worth throwing out.  Just like the story about the field with wheat and weeds, there is a sorting that goes on at the end of time.  The good are kept.  The bad are thrown out.

In every church, there are those who have every evidence of being genuine Christ-followers. 

But in every church there are also those who present no true evidence of belonging to God at all. 

They may sit in the same pews.  Sing the same songs.  Bow their heads to pray the same prayers.  They may give every external clue that they’re just like believers…except…they are unclean.  They are missing the seal of the Holy Spirit because their faith was never genuine, heartfelt, or truly submitted to the Father.  Maybe they went through all the motions for other people to see, but willingly abandoned Jesus on all the time outside of the public display.

Jesus is not interested in your Sunday best.  He’s interested in your everyday best. 

The net doesn’t do the sorting.  The net is for gathering.  But we must bear in mind that the Kingdom of heaven will be purified by the hand of God, sorting each of us according to what we did with Jesus.

kingdom of heaven is like a net

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on July 15, 2013

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