But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
Have you ever watched a butterfly flapping its wings on a bright sunny day and been in awe of its beauty, and how those thin, dainty wings can work so effectively. The life of a butterfly is very brief, with only four stages in its life cycle. Each stage is different, and has a different goal. The whole process of a butterfly becoming an adult is called metamorphosis. Its life cycle process can take anywhere from a month to a year, depending on the type of butterfly.
We human beings are a bit like butterflies. We have our own life cycles that can be different lengths. We go through stages in our lives that move us through life as we are morphed into something new.
Jesus’ life and ministry went through stages of metamorphosis too.
The beginning stage of the butterfly is the egg, which might be seen as Jesus’ early life, growing up in Nazareth. The caterpillar stage of the butterfly might easily relate to his years of learning the trade of his earthly father, Joseph, as they worked in the carpenter shop together, and as he studied scripture. We get a glimpse of him at age 12 when he stayed in the Temple in Jerusalem talking with the priests and scribes about Holy Scripture. It was a stage of brightness and movement and fast growth. It was a time of trying out his knowledge with the learned men who served God in the Temple. It was a protected time when he grew in love and in obedience to God. At the end of his caterpillar stage, Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Then just as all bright colored caterpillars begin to change there comes a time when it must go into the stage of a chrysalis. In that stage it attaches itself to a leaf and develops a hard shell of protection so it can change inwardly once again to its final stage of a butterfly. The chrysalis is a place of waiting and testing as well as a place of change. In the chrysalis stage Jesus was sent to the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tested, and strengthened for the mystically beautiful butterfly he was preparing to be.
The final change for the chrysalis is changing into a butterfly, which is the last stage in the life cycle.
When the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis, it learns to fly. That is when we are mesmerized by the beauty of this delicate creature as it flits around the flowers on a sunny day.
The butterfly stage for Jesus was his ministry. His miracles, the calling of disciples, the healing of those who came to him, the sermons and teaching about the Kingdom of God, the totality of his ministry was the last most glorious stage in Jesus earthly Life Cycle.
For Jesus and for all who have placed their faith in him, this will not be as the butterfly’s last stage which only lasts about 30 days. Instead the butterfly stage of life for Jesus of Nazareth will be eternal because when he dies he will rise again to eternal life. His colors will be brighter that ever, his glory will be that of a light similar to what Peter, James and John saw on the mount of Transfiguration. His life, his death and resurrection show us that he is God who has come to us in human form. The fullness of his glory we will behold when we see him in heaven.
The next time you see a butterfly may it remind you of the transformation Christ is making in you. May you have a blessed and meaningful Holy Week next week.
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.