Matthew 13:47-58 Filtering The Good From The Bad

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.

51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” they replied.

52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Filtering The Good From The Bad

Jesus acknowledges that the Teachers of The Law, his usual enemies, have something to their credit.  If they become Jesus’ disciples they can trawl through their learning of the Old Testament and pull from it wonderful truths.  In addition to that, if they become disciples of Jesus, they will have more resources with which to grow spiritually.  If we are to apply this teaching, we should learn both the Old and New Testaments and apply wisdom from both sections of the Bible.  Jesus does not dismiss the Old Testament but acknowledges that it has value.

In the second story, those in Jesus’ home town filter him out.  Familiarity breeds contempt as we say today.  Those that know Jesus find it hard to attribute anything special to him.  They know how human he is.  They know his parents.  They know his family.  Therefore they have limited acceptance of who he could be.  It is hard when we are rejected.  We all have a need for acceptance that can only be fulfilled in Christ.  Jesus was secure in the knowledge of who he was, but the people of his home town missed out on great blessings because they limted their thinking.

What do you expect Jesus to do?  What do you filter out about Jesus?  Do you trawl the Old Testament looking for truths, or do you just prefer the New Testament?


  1. To what is the Kingdom of God compared?
  2. What advantages do Teachers of the Law have?
  3. Why did those in Jesus’ home town find it hard to put their faith in him?
  4. How would a person discern whether they are a good fish or a bad fish since they are only seperated at judgement?
  5. How do Christians today sometimes limit Jesus in their expectations and downplay him in their lives?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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