7/18/2011

insider/outsider

Friday July 29th, Matthew 13: 47 "Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 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. Oh how we want to interpret this as an insider/outsider tale. We of course are the good fish in that scenario. But let us break it down. First the kingdom is like a net that catches all kinds of ….. the English translation is fish. In fact, the word "fish" does not occur in the text, but "all kinds of things" and "good things and rotten things". "Rotten" things would not be a proper term to use for freshly caught fish. Elsewhere in Matthew it is used of bad or rotten fruit (7:17, 18; 12:33). Do you get that, All Kinds of things. Next, it is the kingdom that does the catching, not fancy programs or lures or bait. The image is one of a net dragged along that just picks up everything whether it wants to get picked up or not. If churches are not doing kingdom work then it is just entertainment. Entertainment is not bad, but it is still only entertainment, it is only showing the insiders the lure you might use if you ever get around to going fishing. Next, in all these separation texts, wheat from tares, sheep from goats, good fish from bad fish, we need to ask ourselves if they are about individuals or groups. Is what is being separated the chaff within the community or the chaff within ourselves?

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