November 16: The End of the End (Matthew 13:47-52)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old. (ESV)
Jesus says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like…” He then finishes his teaching on the nature of the kingdom using parables in chapter 13. He has already spoken about receiving the kingdom using the parable of the soils, where we saw that the kingdom will come with preaching, and it is those who listen to the gospel that will yield a harvest. He has also spoken about the growth of the kingdom even in the midst of conflict and evil using the parable of the wheat and weeds. Then the parables about the mustard seed and leaven described the absolute victory of the kingdom, which comes from apparently insignificant beginnings. And then he spoke of the incomparable value of the kingdom in the parables of the treasure and the pearl.
Now in his last parable in this chapter, he speaks to the nature of the consummation of God's kingdom in the parable of the fishing net. He likens the end of all things to a fishing net being thrown into the sea and pulling up all kinds of fish and then sorting them, keeping the good and throwing away the bad. It is a parable pointing to the certainty and finality of judgment. Sadly, many of us think little on this. Consider the last day of this present age and assess the level of belief you have as revealed through a life of preparedness. Consider it grace that we will talk about it before it comes.
Review and Apply
- What new details surface regarding this judgment day?
- Why does God allow evil and righteousness to co-exist until this final day? How does this help us understand God being good while evil is not immediately eliminated?
- What forms of judgment take place now that point to the judgment on the final day?
- How often do you think on your future in this life compared to your future day before God?
- What distracts you from considering this this day? How can you be better prepared to face this day with joy and not fear?
- What does Jesus mean when he says, "weeping and gnashing of teeth"? Does this seem unfair to you and why?
- What does it mean to be righteous?
- How do vv. 51-52 relate to the parable of the net?