Session #098 All Sorts
Scripture Matthew 13:47-50
Summary The Parable of the Dragnet in Matt 13:47-50 can be neatly summarized by two points: “all sorts” and “all sorted”. After teaching about this parable, Henson presents the main point as presented through all seven parables. But that is not the end. Instead, in the next two verses (Matt 13:51-52), there is an encore, an eighth parable, an extension, an expectation of all who hear and understand.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:47-52
Parallels Between Dragnet and Kingdom of God
A dragnet is a net so large in size that it needs to be dragged between two or three boats and drawn to land using very long ropes. Handling a dragnet is by no means a single person’s effort, but a collaborative effort. Similarly, being tasked with a personal kingdom assignment may seem like a lonely journey, but all of us must be aligned to our King to generate synergistic triumph for greater kingdom purposes. A dragnet will attract all sorts of fish, regardless of species and sizes, owing to its big size. Likewise, the kingdom of God will captivate all sorts of people from different backgrounds and attributes. A dragnet does not discriminate between the species in its catch. In fact, the differences between its sorts will only be revealed very much later when the boats get on the shore. Day by day, fishermen can be seen seated around the Lake of Galilee, in their furry to sort out the “good” and edible fish from the inedible ones. The “good” fish were then stored into vessels, while the “bad” ones were deplored and discarded.
In this Parable of Dragnet, Jesus taught us that we will be sorted out at the end of the age; this separation will not be done by us, but by the angels! This is also highlighted in the Parable of Wheat and Tares. The righteous ones will be rewarded, but the wicked and evil ones are cast into an unquenchable fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth forever and ever (Matthew 3:12).
Righteous Vs Wicked
So who are the righteous? The Parable of Wheat and Tares taught us that the righteous ones are the sons of the kingdom. We are given the gift of righteousness and adopted into the kingdom by grace through faith. The mark of true sons and daughters of God is that we must represent and reveal the Father. Jesus Christ is our lead example on what it means to be a child of God- to do and fulfil our Father’s will!
Our Work Will be Tested and Sorted by Fire at the End of Day
Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3:13
Our Fruit of Righteousness are Borne and Tested Through Difficult Times
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
We May Be Sifted Before Being Sorted
Jesus permitted the devil to sift Peter in Luke 2:31-34. He prayed for Peter to return strong and encourage others. Similarly, the Lord allows us to go through challenges so that we will become stronger. This sifting process is not meant to be the final judgement, but a preparation for us, so that we will be sorted correctly.
We Must be Disciples of Christ
In Matthew 16:24-27, Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow Him. At the end of the day, the Son of Man will come before the angels. The angels do the sorting while the Son of Man gives the rewards. We are already given the gift of salvation; however, we need to be faithful and pledge our allegiance to the Lord to earn the rewards.
How about the evil and wicked? They refer to all things that offend and those that practise lawlessness (Matthews 13:41). Jeremiah 13:10-11 gave a more detailed description of the “evil people”
These evil people, who refuse to hear My words (disobedient), who follow the dictates of their hearts (selfish), and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them (idolatrous), shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing (unprofitable). For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,’ says the Lord, ‘that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.’ Jeremiah 13:10-11
For these evil people, the Bible states clearly that there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. There are four such mentions in Matthews, covering those who are unbelieving (Matthew 8:12), unforgiving (Matthew 22:13), unfaithful (Matthew 24:51) and unprofitable (Matthew 25:30).
Kingdom Parables: The Big Picture and the Main Point
In Matthew 13, Jesus shared with us many parables so that we can learn more about the Kingdom. Each of these parables highlights a different perspective of the kingdom.
- Mustard Seed & Leaven describe the extent/effect of the kingdom
- Hidden Treasure & Pearl of Great Price declare value/worth of kingdom
Wheat, Tare & Dragnet provide the context of the present age: co-existence of good and evil. These will be sorted and separated
- Sower & Soils explains how people will respond
Why did Jesus teach these parables? Right after the parables of the mustard seed, Jesus declared, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9). Hearing means understanding and obeying, and this is the main purpose of these parables
The Parable of Sower and Soils taught us that how we respond to Jesus will determine our impact, outcomes and influence as His disciples. Only the one who received seed on good ground, the one who hears the word and understands, will bear fruit and produce! We should not only understand the Word, but also begin to live out what we have heard as sons and daughters of the kingdom.
The 8th Parable: EPILOGUE, EXTENSION and EXPECTATION!
Toward the end of the Parable of Dragnet, Jesus went on to teach another parable.
Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:52
Notice how this parable is an extension to the previous seven parables mentioned. A scribe is a person who writes, records and transcribes information. During the post-exile era, scribes became a class of scholars who taught, copied and interpreted the Law for the people. Therefore, they were sometimes addressed as rabbi, teachers and masters, often with affiliations with religious and political leaders. Although scribes are often regarded to be opponents of Jesus due to differing interpretations of Law, there were scribes who had pledged their allegiance to Jesus. In this particular context, Jesus used the term “scribe” to make a positive point- a scribe who “instructed concerning the kingdom” is like a householder (master of the house)! It is not just about us knowing the word of God; we need to be excited about the things of the kingdom! When we become true disciples of Christ, we become like the master of the house, with the ownership, responsibilities and leadership to guide others to the kingdom.
Yes, we are always eager to “show off” ALL SORTS of treasures of the kingdom with the willingness to give up everything for the sake of gaining the kingdom. Paul the Pharisee was zealous for the law and traditions. However, upon meeting Jesus, he received a fresh revelation of the gospel and started to disciple (instruct) in the things of the kingdom. Ultimately, Paul became a House Master and a Master Builder.
From the dragnet that brings in all sorts of fish, to the house master who brings all sorts of treasure, our part is to bring in all sorts of people to the kingdom, but it is the angels who sort out the people.
The question is: which sort are we? Are we the sort who hears and understands? Are we true disciples of the kingdom? Do we reveal to others the treasures of the kingdom and help them hear and understand?