Separating God’s Catch

The Parables of Jesus

April 5, 2022

Separating God’s Catch

Matthew 13:47-52

I guess everyone has a favorite fishing story. Although I’ve never fished using a net, I have caught many fish in a short period of time.

Although I’ve told it before, this is my fish story from Chapter one of my book, “Adventures in Youth Ministry.”

“When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I lived in Chicago. Now once in a while, my Dad would take me fishing at a place called Montrose Beach. I would use a fishing pole. I would cast with a worm on a hook.

But my Dad would troll fish. First, he’d take this small anchor attached to a long rope, swing it over his head, and throw it out into the lake. Next, my Dad attached a metal pulley to the rope with a long line. The pulley system also had fish hooks on it. Dad would bait the hooks and slowly let the line down in the water. The entire contraption was attached to a metal pole about six or seven feet tall that he would stick into the sand. A small bell was at the top of the pole attached to the rope. If a fish would “hit” one of the hooks, the bell would ring, and then slowly, he’d pull the pulley line in. But guess what? He rarely would catch any fish that way.

One day, my cousin Sam called my Dad and said, “Uncle John, we should go fishing up at this lake I found in Wisconsin; the fishing is excellent.” My Dad worked long hours in the construction industry during the week. So, he didn’t really relish the thought of driving almost two hours to a lake in Wisconsin early on a Saturday morning. So, I was shocked when he told me we were going fishing in Wisconsin with my cousin a few weeks later.

When we arrived at the lake, my Dad rented a boat with a small engine on the back of it. It was a yucky rainy day, but we headed out anyway. After getting in the boat, I’d estimate we only went out about two or three hundred feet from shore. After we anchored the boat, we baited our fishhooks with worms (my Dad’s fishing line actually had two hooks about a foot above each other).

No sooner did we put our lines in the water than it started raining really hard. We had a big tarp in the boat, so we covered ourselves with it. But guess what happened just after we surrounded ourselves with the tarp? The fish started biting. A lot!

We all caught a fish simultaneously, and my Dad hooked two on his line. We pulled our fish in, and as soon as we put our poles back in the water with fresh worms, we all caught a fish again. This went on for about thirty or forty minutes. It was so much fun and funny at the same time. We took off the tarp and kept fishing in the pouring rain. We laughed throughout the entire experience because we couldn’t bait our hooks or pull the fish in fast enough. Of course, once we reached the shore, we separated the good and bad fish. Especially if they were too small. Those we threw back in the lake.

You know what? If my Dad hadn’t listened to my cousin Sam we would never have caught all those fish, would we?”

My fish story brings us to today’s Parable.


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.

 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” they replied.

He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matthew 13:47-52

This Parable is similar to the story, “The Parable of the Weeds. However, in today’s Parable, the fishermen pull up a jam-packed fishnet. They then took the good fish, put them in a basket, and threw the bad ones away.

In the Parable of the Weeds, a man had sown good seeds. But, at night, his enemy sowed bad seeds in the same field. So, the man who owned the field waited until the good and bad seeds had grown. Then he and his workers separated the wheat from the weeds at the harvest. First, they put the wheat into barns. Then they took the weeds, bundled them, and burned them.

When Christ returns, He will separate the true believers from the non-believers. But, until He returns, everyone has the same opportunity to repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness and salvation they need.

Jesus asks His disciples a very pointed question in verse 50, 

“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. And they answered that they did. If they had said no, then Jesus would have explained the Parable to them as He had in the past.

Finally, let’s look at verse 52 again.

He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

When I read this, I got the feeling Jesus was pleased that His disciples were finally “Getting It.” Before you can become a teacher, you must be a student. Jesus had been teaching these students, His disciples, for nearly three years. Although they would fall away when He was arrested, at Pentecost, they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Who would compliment the knowledge Jesus had already shared with them. He would be an encourager and guide for them to continue Christ’s work.

Here’s my final point. The house owner from the Parable is an analogy for a disciple. The new treasures and the old are the new ideas and things Jesus has taught them. The old is the Old Testament story, filled with God’s creation and prophesies of a Savior. Jesus was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He is our Savior, who died on a cross for our sins, and overcame death by rising three days later.

Now get out there and be fishers of men and women. 😊

Dear Jesus. We need to continually learn about and grow closer to you. Please open up the scriptures for us so we may better share your promise of eternal life with others. Amen

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