The most common occupation in Jesus day was farming and fishing. As a result, most of the parables of Jesus Christ are in this context. Therefore, anytime he told a parable, they can easily relate to it. However, the understanding of Jesus parables in literal form is not limited to the Jews since agriculture is a global practice. Consequently, make it global wisdom to be understood. For example, in Nigeria and most of Africa countries, agriculture used to be the major source of income and the mainstay of the National economy before the advent of mineral resources. Sadly, the reverse is the case now due to over-dependence on mineral resources i.e Petroleum.
THE PARABLE OF THE DRAGNET
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matt 13:47-50 (NKJV)
MATTHEW CHAPTER THIRTEEN
This parable is the last parable told by Jesus in the book of Matthew chapter thirteen. I think this chapter could otherwise be called the CHAPTER OF PARABLES in my own opinion. These parables tell a lot about what constitutes the kingdom of God. The understanding of these parables will help us to understand some situations and people in the kingdom, and the role we must play in making it HEALTHY.
The literal meaning of the PARABLE of the DRAGNET
A dragnet is of great length, weighted by lead and designed to sweep the bottom of the sea, gathering fish in masses. Two boats would drag this net between them, sweeping a section of the Sea, after which the sailors would haul the net to shore. During fishing, during this process, the hope of the fishermen is to catch THE GOOD FISH only. Despite using the effective fishing method still, the fishermen could not be selective while catching the fish, the catch is always a MISMATCH. Meaning, not all the catch will be of COMMERCIAL VALUE, nor good for eating (Lev. 11:10). Which will then call for a daunting time of separation of the bad from the good ones? The bad ones are thrown back into the sea. Likewise is the story of the Kingdom of God.
Spiritual meaning of the PARABLE of the DRAGNET
This parable is used by Jesus to tell us that whenever the dragnet of the Gospel is being used, it captures all kinds of people into the Kingdom. Not only does it capture people of all races and nationalities, but it also captures the good and the bad. The good are those who believe the Gospel and have their sins forgiven and Christ’s righteousness imputed to them. While the bad are those who do not believe the Gospel and are thus condemned by their sins.
INTERPRETATION OF THE PARABLE
Every genuine believer is a fisherman. We are called to catch men. This is our primary assignment. The word of God is our tool. We are to be equipped with it. We have the responsibility to tell others about the Kingdom of God. We are to be Like Andrew, who went and tell his brother about Jesus.
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). John 1:14 (NIV)
When Jesus Christ called Simon and Andrew, He categorically told them that He will make them ‘FISHERS OF MEN’ (Matt 4:19). Them being fishermen knew exactly what He meant. They knew they would be catching the soul of men into the Kingdom of Light from that of Darkness. We all have the same responsibilities.
The main purpose of our calling as Children of God is to win souls for Christ. We have the most effective dragnet of the Gospel. This World is a World of fish, but until we launch the Dragnet of the Gospel, we aren’t catching any fish!
Now when he had ceased speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch. Luke 5:4 (KJV)
The Dragnet is the Gospel of Salvation preached to bring everyone into the Kingdom of God. (Mark 16:15-16)The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the dragnet. No one enters the Kingdom without the word of God. It is the word of God preached to us and our acceptance of it that makes us to become the citizens of the Kingdom. We are all born by the incorruptible WORD OF GOD. Each time we preach the Gospel we are throwing the DRAGNET.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Pet 1:23(NIV)
The FISH are different categories of people in the Kingdom of God: When the dragnet net is being used to catch fish, it draws all kinds of fish along with it. This is where it calls for concern. Not everyone in the Kingdom of God here now will make it to heaven. It will be sad to be associated with the Kingdom of God here on earth and missed out on the day of reckoning. This is why we all believers must check ourselves and examine our walk with God thoroughly. No one will make it to Heaven by mistake or an error of judgment.
MOTIVES DETERMINE THE MISSION
Many people are in the Kingdom of God for different reasons. We are attracted to it for different reasons. But God is interested in people who are in His Kingdom for one reason……. Which is to love and serve Him in truth. Acknowledgement of this fact should give us the understanding that not everyone in a Church is actually genuinely saved. Many are there for their own reasons. A good example is Simon the sorcerer who pretended to be a genuine believer (Acts 8: 9-25). It then becomes the responsibility of the church leaders and brethren to help nurture such people to the right path of salvation. At least we will know we have done our parts should they end up on the other side of Heaven when being separated.
For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? 1 Peter 4:17 (NLT)
The SEASHORE is the time of reckoning with God: At the seashore, the fishermen separates the different kinds of fish in the net. Those with the high commercial value from the rest. At the END OF AGE, same is the way God will separate kinds of people in His kingdom. A time is coming that God will do the separation. We can all claim to be citizens of the Kingdom of God now, but God knows who are His.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 2 Tim 2:19(KJV)