Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 22nd

The Case of the Great Net

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.

Matthew 13:47-48

This is a description of what is going on in our present day. This lost secret of the kingdom of heaven is the characteristic of the gospel which forces individuals out into the open, where they manifest what they really are. There is an element of the gospel, this radical message of Christianity, which exposes people when they come into contact with it. It makes known what they are, just as a great dragnet sweeping through the seas gathering fish of every kind ultimately exposes whether they are good or bad. This has been happening throughout our age. The radical truth of the gospel is like a net seining through the tides of restless, surging humanity. Whoever is caught in it is forced to declare himself, forced out into the open to reveal whether he is bad or good.

Now do not misunderstand. Obviously, people are not simply born bad or good. We are all part of a fallen race, born into lost humanity. We all have evil at work within us, and that evil will create in our character a resistance to truth until God intervenes. The bad or good in this parable refers to how we respond to truth, to what happens when we come into contact with reality. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the basic truth, the ultimate reality, the fundamental secret of life. The good are those who deal honestly with this reality, who when they learn something real and genuine about it respond to it, act on it, do something about it. The bad are those who turn their backs to it and say, No, I don't like that and I don't want to believe it; I reject it, or worse, play the hypocrite and say, Yes, I'll accept that, but yet allow it to make no changes in their life, remaining evil within although outwardly putting on a pious garb of sanctimonious self-righteousness.

The truth is that man was created to be indwelt by God. The only way we can fulfill our humanity is to be filled with God and understand that we are to live by faith in him. The gospel message — this good news that Christ is in you and able to restore to you all that God ever intended for you — is like a great net sweeping through the tides of humanity. All who are caught in it are made to reveal what kind of people they are, to reveal whether they will deal honestly with the truth or whether they will reject it and turn from it. You can see this process in your own experience. You can see it in the record of church history. You can see it working itself out in human events today. The gospel has this radical character about it.

Lord, there are areas of my lives where I am still resisting you, still trying to pretend that I am something I am not. So I ask you to change and redeem those areas. Help me to acknowledge them and claim your healing grace.

Life Application

What will this present age reveal about me? Am I one who will deal honestly with the reality of the gospel, respond to it, and act on it?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Case of the Great Dragnet

Listen to Ray