Summary: A look at how God wants to bring thirty-fold, sixty-fold, or a hundred-fold harvest into our lives. It looks into what exactly that means for our lives.
HOW MUCH IMPACT DOES GOD WANT TO HAVE THROUGH YOUR LIFE? Does your life’s impact resemble an overflowing orchard basket or a Charlie Brown Christmas tree?
- Let’s talk about these two images for a moment.
- Image #1: the overflowing orchard basket.
- You go out into the apple orchard with a basket and you can’t contain all that is there for the picking. Your basket is overflowing.
- Image #2: the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
- Now let me quickly say that I realize that a Christmas ornament is not the same thing as an apple. I recognize that ornaments don’t grow on trees! Still, I want to use that image because (a) it’s a well-known image and (b) it’s such a compelling image of scarcity.
- You have that pathetic little tree – so small and weak – bending over under the relatively light weight of a single bulb.
- It’s substituting for our image of an apple tree with a single apple simply because the Charlie Brown tree is more iconic and memorable.
- What does it mean when Jesus speaks of “the good soil”?
- The four different soils represent different kinds of hearts. The good soil represents a good heart.
- In Luke 8:15 (which is Luke’s version of this same parable), Jesus says, “. . . the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart. . ..”
- How do we get a good heart? Well, it happens through Christ’s work in our lives. We do not have a good heart in our natural state because we’re sinful creatures, but Christ regenerates us and makes us into new creatures in Christ. A truly saved person is “good soil” because of what Christ has done in Him.
WHAT DOES "THIRTY, SIXTY, OR A HUNDRED TIMES WHAT WAS SOWN" MEAN? The average “planted seed to harvested seed” ratio in Palestine at that time was eight times what was sown, so Jesus is talking about fruitfulness ranging from impressive to overwhelming.
- John MacArthur notes that the average “planted seed to harvested seed” ratio in Palestine in Jesus’ day was eight times what was sown.
- Jesus in this parable is talking about harvests of thirty times, sixty times, and a hundred times.
- A thirty times ratio would be four times more fruitful than average. A hundred times ratio would be over twelve times more fruitful than average.
- Of course, getting too deep into the specific numbers can obscure the larger point, which is Jesus is not planning on moderate fruitfulness from His followers.
- I’ve used the words “impressive” and “overwhelming” in the sermon outline.
- Seeing someone produce four times the average would be impressive.
- Seeing someone produce twelve times the average would be overwhelming.
- Here’s the point: Jesus doesn’t want to do something small through your life. He wants a great harvest; he wants “much fruit.”
- The thirty/sixty/hundred statement is meant to leave hearers thinking, “Wow! That much?” He meant it to impress.
- We need to consider that this is what He wants to do in the life of every Christian, not just super-Christians.
- John MacArthur:
“In Palestine during New Testament times, the average ratio of harvested grain seeds to those that were planted is said to have been less than eight to one. Even a tenfold crop would have been well above average; and the yields of which Jesus speaks were truly phenomenal.”
“Not only does Jesus assure us that true believers bear fruit but that they bear it in great abundance: one a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. Those figures represent phenomenal yields of 10,000 percent, 6,000 percent, and 3,000 percent. Believers differ in fruitbearing because they differ in commitment to obedience, but all are profusely fruitful.
“As mentioned above (under v. 8), the average yield ratio of grain crops in Palestine was less than eight to one. Therefore even the least productive thirty to one was almost four times the average. It is not that a believer produces a hundred, sixty, or thirty times the amount of fruit that an unbeliever produces—because an unbeliever can produce no spiritual fruit at all. Jesus simply used these figures to represent the great productivity He gives to the faithful proclamation of His Word. That is the point of the entire parable: true believers produce fruit.”
WHAT DOES "THIRTY, SIXTY, OR A HUNDRED TIMES WHAT WAS SOWN" LOOK LIKE? It is both (a) obvious and significant change in your life to literally become more like Jesus in character and behavior as well as (b) seeing many people drawn closer to God because of your presence in their lives.