3 min read

The Truth of the Butterfly

By John on September 9, 2021 10:17:40 AM NZST


“If you catch it, it will surely die, darling,” her mum said. “This kind of beauty will last only
when you choose to experience it every day afresh.”
But Zoe could not understand, and she caught it anyway. It was beautiful. The orange wings
were more radiant than an actual orange, and she could see right through them. Its black
outline was like a dark, beautiful night, dotted with white, shiny stars. She caressed the body
and found it remarkably soft, gentle, and fragile. Its beauty was so perfect and unique that
words will never equate Zoe’s lovely experience.
“Mum, he’s so pretty!” she exclaimed. “That’s not a carpillar!”

She was still trying to comprehend how such a beautiful creature could have come from a
caterpillar, and then from a chrysalis! Those words were too hard to pronounce anyway. After
contemplating the beauty for long, precious minutes, she slowly opened her hands to let it fly away. “Free!” she cheered, with a huge smile on her face. But the look on Zoe’s face said it all; the insect stayed there, in her hands, its wings failing to lift the now heavy body. Distraught, she cried out to her mum, trying to understand what had
happened. But lovingly, her mum knew that now was not the time for explaining but the time for mourning and consoling. Zoe had captured beauty and therefore it faded away. She had tried to freeze one single moment in order to keep it in eternity, but the truth only stayed alive when it was... alive.

It would only be years later that Zoe understood the meaning behind truth and life. She
understood that something correct but incomplete is not “truth”, that something correct but unbalanced is not “truth." And more importantly, she understood that something that is correct at one point in time can become false and incorrect when it is frozen in time. In the same way that a photo of a cantaloupe is not a cantaloupe, a lifeless butterfly is not a butterfly anymore. Young Zoe encountered truth and took a “photo” of it saying “this is it, this is truth” when instead, it was a frozen, contemplated butterfly, stuck at one point in time.

In the same way, the Israelites understood that “no adultery” was correct and true, but they
did not understand the depth of God’s intentions when he said it. They froze it and made it
truth forever, but Jesus revealed what truth actually was, namely that it is a matter of the
heart: a lustful gaze is an adultery (Matthew 5.27-28). That’s what Jesus tends to do: live truth and say what truth is. But we also know that he is Truth (John 14.6). That’s what truth is, it’s Jesus! Everything he is, everything he does, everything he says, and who he says we are, sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. To know Jesus is to know Truth.

Everyone exposed to Jesus and to who he is gets transformed – metamorphosed. The outward is changing because of the inner reality, like a butterfly. Jesus calls us to be butterflies, not caterpillars, to be transformed by the inner reality of relationship with the Father. His words are spirit and life (John 6.63) – and he is spirit and life. As we are transformed by truth, the one that is experienced every day afresh, we are becoming life-giving spirits (1 Corinthians 15.45). We are being filled every day with life and with truth and therefore we are royal vessels that never leak, that never run dry (John 7.37-39).


Written by John