225. Kingdom parable -5
Updated: Jul 23
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." - (Matthew 13:47-50) We use the metaphor 'sea of people' to mean a very large number of people who have gathered together. The Kingdom of Heaven has let down the gospel net for a catch from the 'sea of humanity' on earth and is waiting for the net to become full before it can be pulled up back to heaven. Because the Jews refused to be baited by the Gospel, God is fishing among the Gentiles. 'I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery ... Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in.' - (Romans 11:25) There are plenty of "fishes" yet to be caught from the 'sea of humanity' but the 'harvest of fish' requires more fishermen. "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." - (Matthew 9:37) Therefore, Jesus is still saying to those he finds on the shores of the sea: "Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men". - (John 4:19)
The Church is like a wharf (a level quayside area to which a ship may be moored to load and unload ) where all kinds of "fishes" caught in the gospel net are unloaded. Just as all kinds of fishes get caught in the net, lured by the bait and are brought to the shores, even so, all kinds of people get caught in the gospel net, lured by the bait of salvation and are brought to the shores of the Church, which is the landing area where the nets are emptied. Therefore, the Church is not an exclusive club of good people but an assembly of both good and bad, just as there were wicked people in the assembly (Greek: ekklēsia translated as Church) of Israelites in the desert (Acts 7:38) "How long will this wicked community grumble against me ? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites." -(Numbers 14:27) "Move back from the tents of these wicked men!" -(16:26) The wicked were stoned to death back then at the witness of two or three. But now they are allowed to be in the Church, hoping that they will change for the better. Yet there were instances in the early Church, when a person was put out of Church for committing incest (1 Corinthians 5:1-13) only to be brought back after having repented. (2 Corinthians 2:5-11) However, the final separation of the righteous from the wicked hasn't happened yet and both are found co-existing together in the Church. But the day is coming when God will send his Angels to separate the righteous from the wicked; the good from the bad; those who heed to correction, from those who despise discipline and the bad will be thrown 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 fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The mission of the Church is to 'fish for souls' by letting down the gospel net for a catch and bringing into the Church as many as we can find. But like Peter, we too might have caught nothing yet, but it only awaits an instruction from Jesus! He once said, whilst (during the time) he was sitting in Peter's boat : '"Put out into the deep and let the nets for a catch." When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish.' - (Luke 5:4-6) Yet in another instance, whilst he was standing on the shore of the sea of Galilee, Jesus called out to those in the boat that was close to the shore : "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish ... but even with so many the net was not torn.' -(John 21:6,11) So the catch need not necessarily be always in deep waters, far away from the shore but there is also a catch awaiting nearby in the shallow waters! Those who think mission work should always be in a far away and unknown place, should also realise that there are fishes waiting to be caught just where they are! Some souls may be far from the shores of the Kingdom while others are near ( Mark 12:34) ! No matter how huge the catch, the net will not break because it was durably weaved in the Kingdom of God. We don't have to be apologetic about the Gospel because there are no ambiguities and contradictions in it. No argument can break the gospel because it's foolproof! Be unapologetic and unashamed of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. Amen.