Your Net

by Joanna Pierce on June 29, 2017

Different Fishermen, Different Nets

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just (Matthew 13:47–49, KJV).

The word net in this Scripture setting is from the Greek word sagéné, which means dragnet. This is a type of weighted “bag” that fishermen would pull through the water, bring to shore, and empty the contents.

Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him (Mark 1:16–18, KJV).

However, the soon-to-be disciples, Peter and Andrew, were using a different net. In the Greek, the word net is from balló, which is a cast net. This type of net was typically used by 1–2 men, and would range in 5–20 feet in diameter. When cast into the water, it would create a perfect circle and fall into the sea.

Components of a Cast Net

Handline

Attached to the rope of the cast net was a handline. This was strapped to the wrist or arm of the fisherman casting the net. This is the method in which the fisherman would pull the cast net back from the water.

Horn

The net had a horn or “yoke,” which is where the net originated from. The horn also connects to the handline.

Net

The netting of the cast net was made of very fine mesh. Fishermen would never store the net by the mesh because it was very frail and would break easily. The knotting in the net were only strong enough to prohibit fish from leaving the net. If the fishermen would identify any holes in the netting, they would promptly fix them. Dried nets would get hard and crusty so fishermen would need to soak them in fabric softener to make them soft again, enabling the fisherman to cast the net in a circle.

Lead Line

This was the bottom circular line of the net. It was gathered or cinched around the net and had weights to drag the cast net down into the water. The weights on the lead line were ultimately responsible for trapping the fish in the net.

Brail Lines

These lines connected the bottom lead line back to the yoke, or top of the net. These would help to bring the net back to the surface after the fish were caught.

Fishers of Men

We are all called to be like the Disciples and become “fishers of men.” We must be a witness and spread the Gospel message to other people. Matthew 13:47 tells us that our net shouldn’t exclude any type of people—the Gospel message is for everyone, and we should therefore try to catch everyone.

In our witnessing, there isn’t any restriction in how we’re to use our cast nets (Colossians 1:12–13), and we don’t need to worry about what we “catch” in our nets—Jesus will ultimately do the separating.

Our Spiritual Cast Net

Handline

The net had to be connected to the handline on a cast net. When we cast our net, we need to ensure we’re also connected. We must be connected to the Kingdom of God and be a part of the church. Our witness will be ineffective if we’re not attached and we’re not keeping ourselves spiritually connected to the Word and to God (I Corinthians 9:27).

Horn

The horn or “yoke” of the net was where the net originated from. We must realize any net we cast is originating from Jesus Christ. In the beginning was the Word and all things are made by Him (John 1:1–3).

Net

Scripture tells us in Hebrews 12:1 that we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses. All of these people are connected together to form an intricate net or “mesh” in the Kingdom of God. We must ensure we’re staying in the flow of the church, follow God, and adhere to the plan He has for His Kingdom. If we stay connected to everyone else in the bonds of unity, our net won’t easily be broken.

Lead Line

The lead line had weights to pull the cast net down into the water. We must cast a net that’s weighted down with the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). Our witness won’t be strong enough unless we’re using Scripture, and the Word, once released, won’t ever come back void!

Brail Lines

These supported the weights of the bottom lead line. We must have a foundation that runs throughout our lives that we use to cast when we witness. Our foundation is Jesus Christ Himself (Ephesians 2:20). Through the Lord’s plan for His church, He’s also given the five-fold ministry to help provide support for the church (Ephesians 4:11–12).

Caring for the Net

Our spiritual cast nets need to be soft and ready for the catch. We are admonished to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). We must be mindful of how we’re casting our net in witness—are we being too harsh or are we being soft? We were all lost at one point; to be engaged in witness, we must realize we were too once witnessed to!

Before we can be an effective witness, we must ask the Lord to help us identify any holes in our net that could cause an issue with our witness. We must be refreshed in the Holy Ghost daily and with the Word of God to keep our nets clean, and to eliminate the stuff we catch on our own that will hinder our witness for God.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on June 28, 2017 with Guest Speaker, Brother Jonathan Pierce