47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This parable is the same as the one of the wheat and the tares. This time, however, Jesus uses a fishing analogy to make His point. The Kingdom of God is available to all, however not all will enter. This is why it is so crucial to pay attention to and obey Jesus’ commands because we know in reading through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew and His explanation to the disciples in John 15 that we must continue our relationship with Him. He says it very clearly and plainly:
6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
We see the same consequence between the good and bad fish and those who abide in Jesus’ love versus those who do not. Jesus has made the Kingdom available to us, but living in the Kingdom doesn’t just happen; we have to work at it. We have to do our part and Jesus will do His. Or, as we read yesterday, Jesus already did His part, now we have to step up and accept our part. Dietrich Bonheoffer explained the “bad fish” or the “tares” as those practicing cheap grace. These are people who proclaim with their mouths that they believe in and love Jesus as their Savior but have no fruit to prove it. When you truly understand and love what Jesus has done for you, it is converted into action. James, Jesus’ brother knew this concept very well because he didn’t believe in Jesus as his Savior for quite some time, but he finally got it and wrote to the Christians spread abroad:
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
When James wrote, “this man will be blessed in what he does,” he was talking about walking in the fullness of God’s Kingdom. When we operate within God’s Kingdom, we have the complete resources of His Kingdom behind us. There is no doubt that God will bless it because we are living in His will.
What kind of fish are you?