Monday, April 16: Collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 13:47-52
"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. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
"Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked.
"Yes," they replied.
He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
In this final parable of his teaching about God's kingdom, Jesus compares the future judgment of those who have both chosen and not chosen to live life God's way to a fisherman sorting through a net full of freshly caught fish. Some of the catch would be good to eat, but not others. Since most of the crowd gathered there, near the Sea of Galilee, were likely those who made their living from fishing and their families, the verbal picture Jesus paints must have been quite clear to them.
Although we may not be professional fishers, there's no mistaking Jesus' point: A final judgment of good and evil lies in our future. In the imagery of the parable, whether we're on the menu or in the garbage can is the faith choice each of us needs to make today, and that choice is eternally important.