The last parable in the collection of the kingdom parables is the parable about fish in the net. This parable is a grand finale of the parables to conclude what Jesus has been talking about with the kingdom of heaven. We’re going to look at this parable to gain understanding as well as look at how Jesus concludes this teaching. Let’s begin.
The last kingdom parable is found in Matthew 13:47-50. Let’s read this parable.
“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.”
Jesus begins this final parable the same way he has others to clarify the context. He begins by saying that the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all different kinds of fish. Then it became full and they pulled it to shore. What Jesus says next is there are good fish and bad fish in the same net. The good fish are kept but the bad fish are thrown out. Jesus then says it will be the same way at the end of the age. The angels will separate the righteous from the wicked and the wicked will be thrown into a place of torment. If we compare the fish to us as people, it makes perfect sense.
What’s interesting to note here is that the kingdom of heaven is compared to a net that has both good and bad fish in it. It is not just full of good and no bad at all, it is just the opposite. While on this earth, represented by the water, the kingdom is full of all kinds of people both those who want to be part of the kingdom and those who don’t. This can be compared to the parable of the weeds where both good and bad crops grew in the same field. Here the example is used of good fish and bad fish. While this parable is about the end and what will happen, there is still much application to what it means for us now. One application is that we are all swimming in the same ocean. We share the same resources, the same water, the same food, etc. The kingdom is not about only liking those who are like us but loving everyone, even those against us.
Even as the gospel is being spread at this very moment, it is bringing all types of people to Jesus. The message of the gospel is bringing both sides to Jesus and it won’t be until the end where we will see who is really a true believer of Jesus. The kingdom came in the presence of Jesus and it continues with us today through the Holy Spirit. We must decide whether we are going to be a part of the kingdom’s advancement or be in the opposition against it and in the end meet our dreaded fate.