We want God’s grace, not his wrath. God agrees. God is the one who took the wrath upon himself first in the death of his only son, Jesus. All we have to do is believe on God’s Son and we will be right before him. Believe in Jesus today. No one should be left behind…
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. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Why did Jesus tell the story of the dragnet? Well, similar to our reflection yesterday when we saw that God wants to call his people back, Jesus’ story is meant to do the same thing. He is calling us back to him.
My Dad was in church with us last weekend when we heard the parable of the net. And when we got home for lunch, he shared that he didn’t like the sermon. “I don’t like it when people get left behind,” he said, as we were about to have lunch. Good point, Dad. Me too.
And as it happens, God feels the same way. In fact, God is more committed to no one being left behind than we are. We can sit at our lunch tables and bemoan it, while God has done something about it. That’s why I think it is best to tell the story of the net alongside the story of the lost sheep. This couplet gives us a more full view of how the kingdom of God deals with righteousness and wickedness.
There is righteousness and wickedness. Jesus paints the picture of two extremes. He doesn’t allow for too many shades of gray here. He is making a clear point. We have a choice to make in life. We choose between righteousness and wickedness. Daily. All the time.
God dwells in perfect holiness. Wickedness has no place with him or in him or around him. And so, God made a plan through his son, Jesus, who became the sacrifice for our sin. Jesus atoned for us so that his righteousness could be bestowed upon us. It isn’t our righteousness. It belongs to Jesus.
And that’s where the parable of the lost sheep comes into the picture. God loved the world so much that he sent his only son, Jesus, to be our Saviour. Jesus is so committed to restoring each of us to full relationship with God that he is willing to leave the 99 sheep to go looking for the one who wandered away. And when he gets him back, he rejoices. In fact, he rejoices more than he does over the 99.
Back to the net. Because of Jesus – because God made a way for us to be made right before him, the predicament of the net has changed. All we have to do is believe on God’s Son and we will be right before him. We want God’s grace, not his wrath. God agrees. God is the one who took the wrath upon himself first in the death of his only son, Jesus. Believe in Jesus today. No one should be left behind…