But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13: 23)
This line from Matthew 13: 23 is the punch line to Jesus’ parable of the sower. Here, the Lord is explaining to His disciples the underlying meaning of the parable. He shares that when people hear the word and understand the word, they are able to receive it as good seed is received on good ground. Then, they can bear fruit in multiple degrees.
On another occasion, Jesus said: “by their fruit you shall know them.” (Matthew 12: 33) In other words, we shall know them by the fact that they bear fruit and by the type of fruit they bear. The reason that the Lord puts so much emphasis on fruit is because there is no greater sign of maturity than bearing fruit. In fact, that is how you know a tree is mature. It bears fruit. This fruit is then good for food and it bears seeds which can lead to future fruit. Often in the church, we focus on faithfulness and, of course, faithfulness is admirable. However, faithfulness without fruitfulness is uselessness.