Summary: A story of the way the Kingdom works.
The Stories of the Kingdom: The Parable of the Net
Sunday, August 6th, 2006
Beartown Road Alliance Church
How many of you like to fish? Now, I would assume, that every one of you that raised your hand has one thing in common besides liking to fish, you all have a good fishing story. Every fisherman needs one. You can tell people about the one that got away or the one that fought you for two hours before you finally got it into the boat or you can go into great detail about the size and weight of your trophy catch. My uncle’s favorite fishing story is the time he went to cast and he caught my other uncle in the middle of the back. He says it was the ugliest thing he ever hooked.
I am not a fisherman. I don’t have the patience. My father used to try and get me to go and as soon as the words, “we’ll leave at 4:30 tomorrow morning,” came out of his mouth, he lost me. I wasn’t going to do anything at 4:30 in the morning, especially sitting on a boat in the middle of a lake, freezing cold and holding a pole in hopes that a fish might take the bait. Besides, I didn’t even like fish and the whole baiting the hook thing and playing with a worm was not my idea of a good time. I was a bit of a wimp. Plus, my dad didn’t seem to realize that other people had already done the hard part and all we had to do was go to the grocery store and get all the fish he wanted! My fishing stories are all about the ones that got away. The closest I’ve ever come to actually catching a fish was at Delta Lake. I hooked a huge 3 or 4 inch sunfish and actually had it out of the water before it jumped off the line. That was about when I decided I was not going to make it as a fisherman. My fishing stories aren’t that exciting.
That wasn’t a problem for Jesus’ disciples. They had some exciting fishing stories! Fishing played a large part in Jesus’ relationship with His disciples. He called Peter and Andrew, James and John away from a life of fishing the seas and into a work of fishing for men. Luke tells us that in His first encounter with Peter, He instructed Peter to put down His net into the water even though Peter had fished all night and had no luck. Peter listens and catches enough fish to fill two boats so full that they began to sink! Peter falls at Jesus’ feet and Jesus tells him to get up and to follow and he does. We see a similar scene after Jesus has risen from the grave. The disciples have returned to fishing and have caught nothing. Jesus appears, and they don’t recognize Him at first, he tells them to throw the net on the other side and they do. It fills so full that they can’t even bring it up and then John recognizes Jesus and Peter jumps out of the boat and runs to Him. At another time, when asked about paying the temple tax, Jesus tells Peter to go and throw his line in the water and he does. The first fish he catches has a coin in its mouth that is just enough to pay the tax. How would you like to have fishing stories like that?
I had a lot of friends in Ohio that were avid fishermen. A few of them were sport fishermen and would enter fishing contests 6 or 7 times a year. These guys had stories. But there was something else that they used to do, they could take anything and relate it to fishing. You could be talking about something that you would think was totally unrelated to fishing and they would say, “Oh, that’s just like this one time I was fishing and…” they would tell a story that was a great illustration of what you had just been saying. They could illustrate anything with a concept found in fishing.
As we open our Bibles this morning to Matthew chapter 13 and verse, 47, Jesus is doing what these guys would do, he’s telling a fishing story. He’s using fishing and fish as an illustration for something else, in this case, the Kingdom of God. Now remember from last week. Jesus had gone out to get some peace and quiet by the lake, but His fame was spreading too quickly and before long, the shore of that lake was filled with people. Jesus climbed into a boat and pushed out into the water ad from there, He began to teach the people about the kingdom of God. We’re told that He taught them using parables, stories with a deeper truth for those who were sincerely looking for it. The parable that we’re going to look at this morning is the 7th and final story that Matthew records as Jesus taught that morning. It’s the parable of the Net.