16. Parable of the Fishing Net

(Matthew 13:47-50)


The parable of the fishing net is the third parable of a series of three short ones that are used by Jesus to describe the kingdom of heaven.

The other two short parables are:

Parable of the Hidden Treasure


Parable of the Pearl of Great Value



Context of the Parable

In context, previous to these three short parables, Jesus has just told the Parable of the Weeds which mirrors the message of this parable of the fishing net.


Parable of the Fishing Net

Jesus says, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;

when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out 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 furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:47-50)


Background Information for the Parable

In this parable, the point is that the righteous are 'kept' whereas the evil are separated and 'thrown out.'

Now, this parable of the fishing net, being a "parable," is therefore meant to communicate a particular point (the separation of the good and evil).

This means that this story about the fish cannot be extrapolated, because it's a simile (a type of metaphor).

It's told for a particular point, so going beyond that point is to fall victim to a metaphor and to go beyond the context (making it a foundationless pretext).

Meaning, don't extrapolate and think, "Well those good fish are going to get eaten, so I don't want to be one of them."

It's the bad fish who are thrown out and die that we don't want to be.

Jesus' only point about the good fish is that they are 'kept.'

His only point about the bad fish is they are 'thrown out.'


Meaning of the Parable of the Fishing Net

The meaning of the parable is found in the last two verses, starting with "So it will be at the end of the age..." (Matthew 13:49-50) because this part no longer seems to be a parable, but rather "an explanation" of the parable.

We are told that God's angels will separate out the evil and throw them into the furnace of fire.


Essentially, this parable of the fishing net is a description of a future reality, but it also serves as a 'warning' of a day that is to eventually come.

Jesus is communicating that this 'sin thing,' as well as a future judgment, is very serious.


Go to previous parable: 15. Valuable Pearl

Go to next parable: 17. Master of a Household



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