The weekend before Easter Di and I went hiking on the Heysen Trail. It was a lovely warm Sunday afternoon. There were many beautiful aspects of the hike but none more spectacular than hiking through a wooded area that had an understory of bracken and ferns that was awash with Monarch butterflies. Further along the valley we came across numerous clusters of Easter lilies.
The butterfly is one of the significant symbols of Easter. Its whole life cycle is meant to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. The first stage, is the caterpillar, which stands for his life on earth. The second phase begins from the cocoon stage, portraying the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The third and final stage is the butterfly, representing his raising from the dead in a glorified body.
Oddly enough, many Christians would be hard-pressed to explain what the resurrection means. The truth is, we Christians talk a lot more about Jesus’ death on the cross than we do about his resurrection. If we listen carefully to our own rhetoric we often imply that the cross is where Jesus does all the work that’s necessary. That’s where Jesus died for our sins. Who needs the resurrection?
Jesus’ resurrection matters a great deal. Here are just a few things that his resurrection proclaims:
- Death doesn’t get the last word. Death is merely the end of the ‘earthly’ life, which is a prelude. The story of life is just beginning.
- Our failures don’t define us. God’s love and forgiveness define us.
- Jesus is everywhere in the world. If the tomb couldn’t hold him, we just never know where he’ll show up.
- God isn’t done with us yet. The resurrection is a glimpse of our future. We, too, will share in Christ’s glory and resurrection. Resurrection sets the path of our lives in Christ who is making all things new.
Jesus resurrection meant he overcame his dead body and was transformed back to life. This Easter event that we celebrate with Easter eggs to mean ‘new life’ is the proof and power of the Gospel.
Jesus is the source of life, and is not only the Messiah, but the very One True God. Jesus gives us his life blood and new life in him that we can enjoy now and for eternity. His resurrection marked the covenant of grace.
Jesus takes our sins, bears them, and covers them by his work on the cross! This is called atonement. We are justified and saved by him and him alone; no work on our part contributes to it. This is what gives us our salvation. We only respond, out of our gratitude, to do good.
So, what does the Resurrection mean to you? What should it mean and what will you do now?
As you walk about in these days take time to look about you and marvel at the beauty of a butterfly – at the same time ponder on the life of Jesus and the ultimate sacrifice made through his death but then the awesome power of his resurrection and the hope that this provides for us for life eternal. Remember the butterfly was once a caterpillar and also a pupa before coming to its new life and full glory as a butterfly.