Anglican Morning Devotion, 11 June 2021 A.D.
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
The oceans of the world are filled with every variety of life as well as serving as the graves of untold numbers of sea-farers who met with disaster, and now populate the Deep; in fact, the oceans comprise the most populated of all cemeteries.
Our Lord tells of a net that is cast into the sea without regard for any particular type of fish – it is a dragnet that gathers all that are trapped in its broad expanse. Many will remember the old TV series, DRAG NET, concerning stories of police detectives. That drag net of justice was not as discerning as that of the Lord. Justice that draws in every kind is not justice; but the dragnet of the Lord is not one intended to prosecute, but to save those chosen out of those who are derelict of Godly virtue.
There is another kind of net mentioned by Christ (John 21:5-6) that is called a casting net. Its purpose is to gather schools of a desired kind of fish into its grasp. But the drag net draws every kind – both good and bad. What is the Lord trying to tell us? This 13th chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew is known as the Kingdom chapter of the New Testament. The various parables taught by Christ in this chapter have direct reference to the Kingdom of Heaven, and almost every one of them describe two different kinds that make up the Kingdom – wheat and tares; good seed and bad seed; good soil and bad soil, etc.
The drag net draws every kind of sea life into its webbed barrier. We have the best example of this by the wide variety of worshippers in Church every worship service. There are all kinds who populate the pews of America’s churches – rich, poor; devout or base; those committed to God’s Word and those who attend for the sake of political or economic gain; and some simply out of curiosity. How can we separate the sincere ones from the hypocrites? That is the point of this parable! We do not separate them for we know not the heart of man – only God knows. This, of course, excludes those openly living in sin upon whom the church must execute discipline.
So who is responsible for culling the good fish caught in the dragnet from the bad ones? It is the angels of God who separate the two. “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” It was our Lord’s method of teaching to teach from the simple to the complex – the known to the unknown – and, so, He spoke in parables of things earthly that we might glimpse the things heavenly and divine. The principle of a burning Hell, too, is made vividly clear in this passage.
For those of you who believe you can cast aside your Christian mantle at the voting booth, heed the warning of our Lord against condoning open sin such as abortion, homosexuality, and a host of perversions emerging in our day:
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” (Matthew 25:31-34)
There are two groups – the lambs of God on the right, and the goats on the left. Heed the words of our Lord to those disobedient souls on the left: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41) On which side do you stand, friend?