Summary: Part of the series on the Parables of Jesus - Parable of the Net

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Parable of the Net – 7

When I was a kid growing up in North Queensland we had this holiday house on the beach at a place called Cardwell

• We would spend most weekends up there playing on the beach, swimming, fishing, beach nut tree fights

• The area had islands, rivers and mangrove swamps so it was ideal for all sorts of fishing

• We all loved shrimp or prawns, as we used to call them, and so we would love it when dad and one of the neighbors would get out the drag net and we would go dragging along the beach for prawns

• The net was a rectangular net about ten meters long and about two meter high. It had a pole on each end so the net could be pulled along parallel to the beach, one in the water and one on the beach

• It also had weights or sinkers on the bottom side so as to keep the net on the bottom as it was dragged along

• They would drag the net along the beach for a while then the one out in the deep water would swing his end around towards the beach and when he reached the beach both would drag the net up onto the beach

• You had no idea what was in the net until you reached this point so the anticipation would grow as we watched the net being dragged up onto the beach

• Of course we were hoping for prawns, but the net was indiscriminate in what it picked up as it was dragged through the water

• So besides prawns, there were usually some small fish, like “toadies” or puffer fish, seaweed, and various bits of flotsam and jetsam

• We would gather up the prawns and when we had half a kerosene tin full we would triumphantly march back up to our house to boil them over a fire and devour them

Today we are going to be looking at the last of Jesus’ Parables of the Kingdom – the Parable of the Net

Matthew 13:47-49 (NRSV)47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous

• So we see the net representing the kingdom gathers up everything in its path, the fish obviously representing human beings but also the flotsam and jetsam representing the rest of creation

• We have already seen in the other parables we have been looking at that the kingdom of God doesn’t just touch human beings it is mysteriously working through the whole creation - “the whole creation groans and travails in pain” Rom 8:21-22

• Its interesting in the Book of Revelation when describing the New Heavens and the New Earth uses similar imagery to describe the new spiritual creation as is used to describe the physical creation

• We have streets of Gold, foundations of precious stones, living waters, the tree of life, the various animals etc

• The whole creation not just humanity will be redeemed by the saving work of the “Lamb” of God

Something important to notice here on the subject of Judging

• No judging is done until the net is drawn up onto the beach

• While the net representing the kingdom is being dragged through the water, it is indiscriminate in what it collects, the good, the bad, the useful and the useless

• In the sea, all kinds of fish and all kinds of junk simply coexist

• A day of judgment is coming pictured by the sorting when the catch arrives at the beach, but prior to that event, nothing is rejected

• But it is an important distinction we need to make as the church representing Jesus Christ’s work on the earth

• If Jesus Himself said, John 12:47 (NKJV) 47 I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. What business then does the church have in thinking it has the right to judge the world

• The church needs to be very careful it doesn’t mount its moral high horse and condemn a world Jesus Himself does not condemn

• We will get to whom He condemns shortly

A second caution for the church is to avoid the temptation of acting like a sports fisherman who is only interested in catching barramundi

• The net of the kingdom does not discriminate and drags all sorts into the kingdom, the old boots, the beer cans, the bottles etc

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