Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
"The kingdom of the heavens is like a dragnet let down into the sea and gathering up fish of every kind." (Matthew 13:47)
The dragnet, which represents the Kingdom-preaching work, gathers fish of every kind. Jesus goes on to say: “When [the dragnet] got full they hauled it up onto the beach and, sitting down, they collected the fine ones into vessels, but the unsuitable they threw away. That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 13:48-50) Does this separating refer to the final judgment of the sheep and the goats that Jesus said would occur when he arrived in his glory? (Matthew 25:31-33) No. That final judgment will occur at Jesus’ coming during the great tribulation. By contrast, the separating referred to in the illustration of the dragnet occurs during “the conclusion of the system of things.” This is the time in which we are now living—the days leading up to the great tribulation.
(Watchtower issue: 7/15/08, 4:15-17)
*This is a good scripture to keep in mind when it comes to the preaching work and people who accept the message. We've already been made aware of the fact, that not all of the fish which are caught in that dragnet will prove to be "suitable" for the kingdom. So if we mentally prepare ourselves to *expect* that in advance, it will help us not to be overly disappointed when some individuals end up rejecting the truth, or don't turn out to be the kind of people we thought they were. Even Judas, one of Jesus' own hand-picked apostles, turned out to be a 'bad seed' and was tossed out. It's also a good reminder of why we shouldn't feel inclined to pre-judge anyone's motives, since we aren't in charge of the separating work.
In fact, how Jesus dealt with Judas is the perfect example. Even though Jesus knew who his betrayer was long before the night he was betrayed by him, he was patient, and let events 'run their course' by waiting until the appropriate time before taking action and dismissing him. That's a good lesson for us.