Matthew 13:47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This story is similar to our passage from yesterday regarding wheat (good) and weeds (bad). Here Jesus uses the imagery of fish – good fish and bad fish, which will be sorted at the end of the age. The passage doesn’t say what happens with the good fish, but there is clear warning for bad fish – those who reject Jesus’ message of the Kingdom. Jesus says that, at the end of the age, the angels of God will:
50 …throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The phrase that sticks out for me this morning is “gnashing of teeth”, which is essentially a grinding of one’s teeth out of anger or regret. Some thoughts come to mind.
First, there are many people in our day who simply do not believe in a judgment or heaven/hell. Or God for that matter. As our culture grows increasingly secular, this is not a surprise. However, there are many self-professed Christians who hold the same view of judgment – mostly because they don’t want to believe in a God who is anything but “love”. One of the benefits of reading through the entire bible is we get to see all the facets of God’s character. There is certainly a large measure of love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness. However, there is also a strong sense of justice and accountability.
Jesus repeatedly tells us there will be a judgment day and we will all be accountable.
The good news of Jesus is that we sinners don’t have to depend on our own righteousness to be reconciled to a holy and just God. This is why God the Father sent his Son Jesus to proclaim a message of good news, to take our sin upon himself on the cross, and to be raised up on the third day. Those of us sinners who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior will have eternal life that begins now and continues into eternity.
Can you imagine what it would be like to realize too late that rejecting the gospel message of Jesus has such dire consequences? I think weeping and gnashing of teeth is an understatement. So let me ask you, where are you in this parable? Are you 100% confident in your place before God? Have you repented of your many sins? Have you accepted Jesus’ forgiveness, offered via grace and mercy? If you are anything other than 100% sure of your place before God, even 99%, then pray with me now.
Heavenly Father, you are a holy and just God. In you there is no sin, and because of this we cannot have fellowship with you when we remain in our sin. So this morning we confess our many failings and shortcomings to you. (Take a moment to reflect on your sins before God). By your grace and mercy, for Jesus’ sake, forgive us our sins once again and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We thank you for your love and mercy, which we do not deserve but gratefully accept. We pray in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.