What on Earth have we done with the Teachings of Jesus?
Jesus often spoke in parables. Earthly stories with deep heavenly meanings. There are those in the world who are like lost sheep. Those who need to be restored back to the fold. As Jesus told these few parables, He spoke in the presence of the religious leaders of the day – the Pharisees. They, like many religious leaders today, thought they had the monopoly on the grace of God and believed their place was secure in heaven. But Jesus came to challenge their self-righteous beliefs and call the ones who felt they had been forgotten. The parable of the net.
Leave Your Nets Leave your nets behind Surrender all Hear now the Master’s Joyful call. It is His voice Do not delay The call is from your Saviour He speaks to you this day. What have you to lose? Only your life of pain To receive the fullest The richest gain. Leave your nets behind now Awake from your sleep Launch out with Me Into the glorious deep. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
The Parable of the Net
Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 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. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Henry says – This is the parable of the net cast into the sea, Matt. 13:47-49. The world is a vast sea, and the children of men are things creeping innumerable, both small and great, in that sea, Ps. 104:25. Men in their natural state are like the fishes of the sea that have no ruler over them, Hab. 1:14. The preaching of the gospel is the casting of a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of the sea.
Ministers are fishers of men, employed in casting and drawing this net. When at Christ’s word they let down the net they encounter great success otherwise, they toil and catch nothing. This net gathers every kind of living thing, as large dragnets do. In the visible church there is a deal of trash and rubbish, dirt and weeds and vermin, as well as fish.
The net is now filling
There is a time coming when this net will be full, and drawn to the shore. It is a set time when the gospel shall have fulfilled that for which it was sent, and we are sure it shall not return void, Isa. 55:10, 11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater). The net is now filling. Sometimes it fills faster than at other times, but still it fills, and will be drawn to shore, when the mystery of God shall be finished.
When that net is full and drawn to the shore, there shall be a separation between the good and bad that were gathered in it. Hypocrites and true Christians shall then be parted. The good shall be gathered into vessels, as valuable, and so carefully kept. But the bad shall be cast away, as vile and unprofitable. Miserable will be the condition of those who are cast away in that day.
While the net is in the sea, it is not known what is in it. The fishermen themselves cannot distinguish between it. But they shall carefully draw it out, and all that is in it, to the shore, for the sake of the good that is in it. Such is God’s care for the visible church, and such should ministers’ be concerned for those under their charge, though they are mixed.
There shall be no mistake
Here is the explanation of the latter part of the parable. We see gathered in the visible church, some of every kind. But the latter part refers to that which is yet to come, and is therefore more particularly explained, Matt. 13:49, 50. So shall it be at the end of the world. Then, and not till then, will the dividing, discovering day be.
We must not look for the net full of all good fish for in the net they are mixed. The angels of heaven shall come and do that which the angels of the churches could never do. That of distinguishing between the wicked and the righteous.
They shall sever the wicked from among the just and we do not need to ask how they will distinguish them. They have their commission and their instructions from Him who knows all men, and particularly knows those who are His, and them who are not. We may be sure there shall be no mistake or blunder either way.
The wicked shall be cast into the furnace. Everlasting misery and sorrow will certainly be the portion of those who live among the sanctified ones, but themselves die unsanctified. This is the same with what we had before, (Matt. 13:42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth).
Christ Himself preached often of hell-torments, as the everlasting punishment of hypocrites. It is therefore good for us to be often reminded of this awakening, quickening truth.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. May I not shrink back from being a preacher of the gospel. May I be a fisher of men to catch something for Your glory who has the sovereignty of the sea and the whole world. Cause me to hear Your Word and know when to let down the net that I may encounter great success.
I know the time is coming when this net will be full and drawn to the shore. A set time when the gospel shall have fulfilled that for which it was sent. May I be care much for the people in the net for the sake of the good that is in it.
Help me be faithful to Your commission and instructions. You know all men, and particularly knows those who are Yours. Teach me to snatch those who are on the verge of eternal fire. May the realisation of where they are going awaken and quicken me into action. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.