There are many animals I would rather not be, and the caterpillar is top of the list. It’s a decidedly grubby life, and a place of distinct vulnerability. But on consideration, it seems not much different than our life on earth.
What the caterpillar does have over and above the other creepers and crawlers of the earth is the change that is genetically built in: the metamorphosis into the butterfly. Both states, in ability and beauty can hardly be reconciled in one creature.
The caterpillar is a non-biblical example of the life, death and resurrection each new spring brings us. But Jesus specifically portrays the death of a seed that brings new life (John 12:24), and Paul the bulb that provides the flower (1 Corinthians 15:37–38).
What I find interesting are the ideas of beauty and recognition that run through these examples. The few of us who exhibit earthly beauty will be transformed into immensely greater beauty measured by the difference of the caterpillar and bulb with butterfly and the flower.
Even those of us of lesser beauty will all be an accurate reflection of the beauty of God. But as the gardener knows the flower that will come from the seed, and the naturalist knows the butterfly that comes from the caterpillar, we will be recognisable within the new beauty.
But in all these things, Jesus Christ is the centre, and is always the centre. His resurrection is essential to the Christian faith, for it confirms Gods acceptance of the redemption gained for us at the cross. Thus His resurrection ensures ours.
So every fresh bud, each new butterfly, all signs of new life, point to the reality of resurrection. they reinforce our belief that resurrection is God’s design, not only for the earth He has given us, but also, and especially, in the promise of our resurrection to glory with Him.