TODAY’S READING: MARK 4-5
“But those that were down on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and hundredfold.” – Mark 4:20
According to Mark, Jesus said that the seed, which is the word of God, that was sown into good soil, the hearts of men who would hear, would bear fruit and produce a harvest that was thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.
What did Jesus mean that the harvest would be thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold?
Did Jesus mean we should expect a harvest that is 30 times, 60 times, and 100 times larger than what was planted?
How would we even measure that?
If it is the word of God, Jesus Christ himself, that is planted in our hearts, then how would we measure that he produced fruit that 30 times, 60, times, or 100 times more?
I think sometimes people assume the fruit, the harvest is other people that are brought to Christ. But, that is not fruit in the Bible. Fruit in the Bible is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How would you know the word of God planted in you produced 30 times more love? 60 times more goodness? 100 times more self-control?
Why does Matthew reverse the order of the increase of the fruit of the word in you?
In Matthew 13:8, Jesus said, “Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
And, why does Luke only mention the hundredfold increase?
In Luke 8:8, Jesus said, “And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.”
The following is one way to understand what Jesus was meant by the word of God, Jesus himself, in our hearts bearing fruit of thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold.
The number 30 in the Bible represents dedication to authority, leadership, or rulership.
The number 60 in the Bible has the idea of help, support, or being upheld.
The number 100 in the Bible means promise, specifically the promised son who came from one, Abraham, who was as good as dead. So, 100 also has the idea of life from death, or resurrection.
When we receive the word, Jesus, in our hearts, he produces within us a dedication to his authority, his leadership, his rulership.
When we receive Jesus into our hearts, when we truly hear him, we know that he is our help, our support, our strength.
Finally, when we receive Jesus, the word of God, in our hearts, we become sons of God, children of the promise. We go from life to death. We are resurrected.
This is the effect of the seed, the word of God, Jesus, that is sown into good soil, hearts that are soft and willing to listen to Jesus. We bow to the lordship of Jesus. We receive everything we need from him. And, we become like him.
In Mark, I think we could see the yield of the harvest increasing because MArk is the gospel of the servant. A servant is raised up. Servants are exalted by God.
In Matthew, I think we could see Jesus starting with the hundredfold increase and going down because Matthew is the gospel of the king. Kings cannot go higher. They must go down. Instead of being humbled, they must be humbled.
In Luke, I think only the hundredfold increase is mentioned because Luke is the gospel of the son of man. Jesus is the man of God (see Luke’s lineage). Luke has an emphasis on the inclusion of Gentiles in his gospel. So, we could see only the hundredfold increase being mentioned by Jesus as the emphasis on the word bearing fruit in all of mankind to become children of the promise one day. This is the ultimate goal of the word in us – to make us like Christ. Nothing else really matters.
So, there is just one possible understanding of bearing fruit thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold that the Spirit showed me this morning.