I Corinthians 15
Butterflies, among the most beautiful of insects, are found almost everywhere on earth. Since they fly during the day, are so plentiful and so approachable, mankind has long known about their intriguing lives. Thus butterflies provide a wonderful example of the transition to eternal life for those who believe in Jesus.
Beginning as an egg, the caterpillar stage, which signifies the mortal life of man, is slow, bulky, and unattractive. Vulnerable to birds and other predators, caterpillars poignantly remind us of our weaknesses and limitations in this earthly frame. As the caterpillar becomes a chrysalis or pupa, which gives the appearance of no life, we see an illustration of death, with the cocoon serving to remind of the grave lying just ahead of each of us. But what looks dead to us is alive to our Lord. Almost imperceptibly the cocoon weakens and then suddenly bursts. The butterfly soars forth in the sky with a new body and beautiful wings. So our human body after death is committed to the earth, and our spirit emerges into life everlasting. Eventually our bodies, too, are raised in eternal glory. Thus the butterfly is the special symbol of the resurrection.
In many ways, these stages symbolize life on earth as well. From the ugliness of lives enslaved to sin to the exquisite beauty of the butterfly, we too change as we accept new life in Christ.
The most awesome fact in history is that a man, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead. The Bible, extrabiblical writings, archaeology, and many other sources support beyond reasonable doubt the genuine life, unquestionable death, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Paul tells us in Corinthians, the greatest promise in all the ages is that since Jesus Christ rose from the dead, since He escaped the final power of the grave, so we who love Him will do the same. Can there be any better news than this?
Christmas has no meaning without the rest of the story, that God became man on earth, lived a sinless life of service, was killed by His enemies, and rose again in a glorified body to eternal life. This fact changed His disciples from cowering after the Crucifixion to towering after the Resurrection. All other facts, accomplishments, and glories of the earth become very small in light of this amazing story.
In some parts of the world we can see butterflies at Christmas, and in others we cannot. Either way, let us remember how this simple creature so demonstrates our lives in many different ways. And let us also remember that Christmas is the time to understand how this blessed holiday fits into the overall scheme of God’s redemption.
Joy to the World
|Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
And Heav’n and nature sing,
And Heav’n and nature sing,
And Heav’n, and Heav’n, and nature sing.
Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns;
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
He rules the world with truth and grace,