“Have you understood all these things?”

“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.

Matthew 13:47-50

Jesus tells another parable, the last in this series of parables. This one has some similarity to the Parable of the Weeds, for its conclusion reveals something about the end of the age. Here we have fishermen as the example; they cast their nets and haul in a big catch. They drag their nets to the shore and sort their catch, for there are good fish, ready for market, and there are fish to throw back; Jesus likens this process to what will happen on the last day, when the angels of God will sort out the Kingdom. The “good fish” will enter, and the “bad fish” will be tossed out. To put it another way, the Kingdom of heaven is open to everyone, but not all will choose to enter, and when the day comes, many will find that they waited too long, and that the doors are now closed.

The main point of the passage comes next:

“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.”

Matthew 13:51-52

Jesus asked the disciples if they followed His lesson; they said that they did. After His explanation of the Parable of the Weeds (13:36-40) they would have needed to work pretty hard not to understand. Jesus continued with His remark about a “teacher of the law” becoming a disciple; he would have both old and new treasures to share.

The old treasures are the treasures of the Scriptures that we would call the Old Testament, including the story of Israel, the Law and the Prophets, along with the wisdom literature; the entire Word of God that pointed the people to Jesus, the Messiah. The new treasures would be the story of Jesus, the Kingdom of heaven, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, and the message of salvation and redemption for humanity that Jesus embodied.

In our time many of us attempt to teach the wonders and riches of God’s Word, and we have in our storerooms abundant treasure to share with our guests, but what do we share with them? Do we share His Kingdom, or do we discuss rules and regulations as though we were still awaiting His coming? Do we share the message of redemption and the glory of His Kingdom in our midst, or do we get so caught up in forms, rituals and even future events, that we cannot see the Kingdom right in front of us?

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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1 Response to “Have you understood all these things?”

  1. Our whole Christian life becomes a ritual when we forget the lost. That’s what we’re here for!

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