20th July 2014
Theme: Parables of the Kingdom: The Dragnet
Bible Reading: Matthew 13:47-52
As many of the followers of Jesus were depended upon fishing for their livelihood it is no wonder then that when Jesus wanted to teach them a lesson about the kingdom of God he used something they were very familiar with to do it.
1. A Net
In Bible days, there were 2 different kinds of nets used by fishermen. A casting net is small, bell shaped, and an individual could use it by himself. The other kind of net is a drag-net, and is much larger. A dragnet, even in Bible times could be up to a mile long. The bottom of the net had weights with sinkers, and the top rope had cork floats which mean that it caught up fish which were hiding at the bottom of the lake.
The word ‘good’ literally means “to have excellent qualities, pious, moral or unblemished.” This word means a great deal more than we typically think it does. It also means “fit for.” In other words only those who are “fit for” God’s kingdom will be able to enter it.
- What awful deeds makes a person unfit for the kingdom?
We often assume that they are anything that is done differently to our opinion of acceptable behaviour.
Jesus demonstrated the measure of fitness for God’s kingdom on the cross and the way he dealt with the thief on the cross. The repentant thief could hardly have been accepted into paradise on the basis of his morality. It was his faith in Jesus that saved him.
If acceptance into the kingdom is on any other basis than faith then none of us will be accepted because none are without sin.
Romans 5:1 again in the message translation it says, “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us, set us right with him, make us fit for him we have it altogether with God because of our Master Jesus Christ.”
The theme of the good news is that Jesus has rescued us from the judgment and wrath of God, and that rescue is available to anybody who looks to Christ, regardless of who they are, what they’ve done, what their race, what their gender, what prison yard they are on--or their crime. Everyone is in the scope of the rescue plan- the net is big and wide. But not every fish in the net will end up in the basket because they will not accept Jesus.
How should we respond to a parable like this?
Surely it should burden us to witness like there’s no tomorrow, for there may not be!
God Bless you