The Kingdom of God is extremely attractive to a great number of types of persons.
“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.” Matthew 13:47-48
The fishermen in this parable were deep water fishermen. They went out into the lake, dropped and towed their net like a seine. There was no control over what the net scooped up. The control came later when the fish were sorted on shore. Jesus said there were good fish and bad fish in the net. The bad were only tossed out when the full light of day was upon them.
This is a picture of the judgment but more. As the judgment Jesus is telling his disciples that the time is coming when things will be sorted out. The image is the separation of the righteous from the wicked.
It is a comforting thought to those who have experienced serious injustice and pain at the hands of evil people. The disciples were well aware that the existence of evil is a challenge to the notion of goodness of God. It still is. We judge our legal systems because they cannot protect us from evil and many reject God for the supposed same reason. If God is good and loving, they say, “How can evil exist?” Jesus is making a promise. It will be sorted out.
Another point of the parable is that the Kingdom of God sweeps up all kinds of people. After all, we do hear almost weekly of church attendees who have done terrible things like rape, murder, child abusing, confidence scams and every other imaginable crime. While we must assume some of these may be redeemed we can also take comfort that there is some judgment going on even in the dragnet of God. It is even more assuring that God gives everyone a chance to enter.
Therefore, when we see a bad fish being scooped up we may make note but we must be careful to remember “it is not over until it is over.” We should judge nothing “before its time.” In the end, the angels will sort it all out.
We should never be naive. Neither should we be judgmental. It is simply a fact that the Kingdom of God is extremely attractive to a great number of types of persons. Many will, in God’s time, be thrown out because of their hardness of heart. Many will be swept up by its loving and embracing message.
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