Matthew 13:47 MEANING

Matthew 13:47
(47) The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net.--The net in this case is not the hand-net of Matthew 4:18, but the sagene, or great drag-net, which drew in a larger haul of fishes. The day's teaching in the method of parables ends, as it were, in an easy lesson, which the former experience of the disciples would enable them to understand. Still, as in the parable of the Tares, the main thoughts are, (1) the mingling of the evil with the good in the visible kingdom of Christ on earth, and (2) the ultimate separation of the two, that each may receive according to the divine law of retribution. Here, as there, the parable perforce passes over the fact that in the actual work of the kingdom the very casting of the net may change, and is meant to change, the nature of the fish that are taken in its meshes, and, therefore, that those that remain "bad" are so in the end by the result of their own will.

Verses 47-50. - The parable of the dragnet. This parable at once recalls that of the tares, but it will be noticed that there our Lord's aim is to inculcate patience and hopefulness on the part of his servants when they realize the close proximity of the ungodly even in districts won over to the faith, while here his aim is rather to warn. To be in the kingdom is not enough; some of those now within it may nevertheless be cast out. It thus greatly resembles the parable of the ten virgins; save that in that parable greater stress is laid on personal preparation and continued watchfulness; in this, on personal worth. Verse 47. - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net (σαγήνῃ: Matthew 4:18, note), that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind. (For the thought, cf. Matthew 22:10; and for the word, συνάγειν, ver. 30, note.)

13:44-52 Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year's growth and this year's gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ's feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net,.... By which also is meant, the Gospel, and the ministry of it. This may be compared to a net, for its meanness in the esteem of men; being despicable, and of no account in the eyes of the world: and yet like a net, a piece of curious artifice and workmanship, being the produce of the grace of God; in which his manifold wisdom is displayed, and is what angels desire to look into: it is designed, and purposely contrived, for the gathering in of sinners to Christ, and to his churches, though by accident, it has other uses; such as troubling of the world, as the net does the waters of the sea, and drawing out the corruptions of the men of it, as that does weeds, stones, &c. and which, like a net, can do nothing of itself, unless cast; and not then neither, unless succeeded with a divine blessing:

that was cast into the sea; by "the sea" is meant the world, so called, for the storms and tempests of afflictions, and persecutions the saints meet with, and for the continual troubles that are in it; for the restlessness and instability of all things therein; for the dangers of it; and for its being the proper place and element of fishes, as the world is to the men of it. The casting of it into the sea, designs the opening of the Gospel, and the unfolding the mysteries of it, and the preaching it in all the world; and supposes persons qualified for it; such were the patriarchs and prophets under the Old Testament; and particularly Christ, John the Baptist, and the Apostles of Christ, and succeeding ministers under the New Testament; and requires art, skill, and wisdom, might and strength, industry, diligence, and patience; and which is done at a venture, whether there are fish or not; and sometimes succeeds, and sometimes not:

and gathered of every kind; the Persic version adds, "of animals"; but much more agreeably Munster's Hebrew Gospel, and the Vulgate Latin, add, "of fishes"; and so some copies read. The preaching of the Gospel, is the means of gathering souls to Christ, and into his churches; and those that are gathered into a visible Gospel church state, are of every kind, of all nations in the world; Jews and Gentiles: of all ranks and degrees of men, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free; of all sorts of sinners, and of men good and bad; some who have the truth of grace in them, and others that are only hypocrites: profess in words, and deny in works; have nothing more than a form of godliness, and name to live, and are dead.

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