The Kingdom of Heaven is like… – Part 6

The Parable of the Dragnet is the last parable in chapter 13 of Matthew. Like the first parable in this chapter, it is also explained by Jesus.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.” – Matthew 13:47-48

Considering the context of the previous parables, this parable seems pretty obvious. The gathering of the fish is similar to the gathering of the wheat and tares. The good fish are stored in containers and the bad and thrown out, much like the wheat is stored in the barn and the tares are burned in the fire.

This is pretty much what Jesus explains: “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 13:49-50

Since this parable is pretty much self-explanatory I will leave it there. It obviously fits in with the other parables and does not seem to throw any wrenches in the works. With that said, let us discuss what Jesus says after this parable – something I consider to be a little confusing.

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.” And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” – Matthew 13:51-52

Jesus ends with another parable like statement. Based on what we have previous stated (part 3 & the comments in part 2), the kingdom of heaven is another term for the sons of the kingdom. I do not put much stock in the word “scribe” that Jesus uses. I think he probably just used it as a general word for anyone. If this is true, it seems to fit with the “Great Commission” – the scribe becomes a disciple of the Christian (thus becoming a Christian himself).

Jesus compares this scribe to the head of a household, who “brings out of his treasure things new and old.” This is probably the most confusing part of this parable. I find myself asking, what is the significance of these new and old things? The best explanation I can think of is that this is similar to what we see in a Christian conversion. There are gifts that you were able to do as a lost person (the old) which you bring as ways to serve others, there are also things that you receive from God as new gifts which are also used to serve others. This is a similar explanation to Douglas Ragner (Word Biblical Commentary – Volume 33a: Matthew 1-13) – however it seems that Ragner thinks the old things are being used in a new way. He also relies a little to heavily on the word scribe. The reason why I think this is a bad thing is because the parable is not able a scribe, it is about the head of a household.

What are your thoughts?



  1. Alan Knox says


    Just a little levity here… the “bad fish” are thrown back and continue living, but the “good fish” are actually thrown onto the fire… right?