The Net Cast Widely

The Net Cast Widely. The net pictured here is a large dragnet, usually about six feet deep and up to several hundred feet wide, positioned in the lake by boats and requiring several men to operate (hence the plurals of v. 48). The picture is realistic, portraying an ordinary event with no surprising twists: The net brings in “every kind” of both good and bad fish, which are then sorted, the good being kept and the bad thrown out. Whatever the original meaning of the parable, Matthew’s own ecclesiastical application already appears in the telling of the parable itself. The bad fish are called “rotten” (sapra), inappropriate to fish that have just been caught, but used four times previously in Matthew’s description of bad “fruit” (works) presented by Christians, where it is appropriate (7:17-18; 12:33 twice). The fishers “sit” for the sorting, as will the Son of Man at the end (19:28; 25:31). Continue reading