Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the meaning of the parable of the caterpillar.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Parable of the Caterpillar
"Jesus answered, ‘‘verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’’”” John, Chapter 3, Verses 5 and 6
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we consider the truth contained in the parable of the caterpillar. An egg hangs from a tree. It has been resting for quite some time. It was colored green so that it was hidden from the hungry birds that might eat it. There is a stirring within the egg, and soon a crack appears, and out crawls a caterpillar. The caterpillar, having gained consciousness, begins to eat right away. Its first meal is the remnant of the egg that it has just emerged from.
Soon the remnant of the egg is eaten, and the caterpillar is forced to begin its journey, looking for more food. There is an irresistible urge that drives it to constantly look for food, and it eats everything that is edible within its reach. Mostly it feeds on the leaves of plants. As it continues its march, it discovers that it is not alone. There are numerous other caterpillars engaged in the same activity, and they all seemed to be moving towards some unexplained destination because they are driven by the desire and need to eat.
As they continue their journey, some of them are picked off by the birds that swoop down and grab them in their beaks. Some of them have become food for the baby birds who have recently been hatched. Some of them as they cross the highway in search of food are killed by vehicles. Some of them fall into the water and drown. But still some continue to follow this intense urge to eat, and this urge takes them further and further away from the origin of their birth.
For some reason, some of the caterpillars become discouraged; a few of them become so discouraged that they give up and lose the urge to eat. Some of the caterpillars band together for mutual encouragement, while most of them go off on a track by themselves. But on and on other caterpillars crawl, eating and growing. Some of the caterpillars (but not many) begin to inquire into the nature of this urge that keeps them eating and eating and moving towards some unknown destiny.
Some of the caterpillars have heard of a legend. This legend says that there is a glorious future for those who survive this journey. But of course, very few really believe this--still they are driven to continue on. A few of the older caterpillars have tried to instruct the younger caterpillars, telling them that if they will believe the legend, they can lessen the hardships of the journey. A few of them believe this. Believing gives them hope, and so they continue to believe, even though they are not exempt from the rigors of the journey. They must continue to eat, and as they search for food, they move closer and closer to their destination. Most come to realize that the rigors of the journey are just a part of their existence and must be accepted. They have come to realize that the rigors have made them strong. And as they have become strong, they have become more determined to continue to eat and move towards their ultimate destination.
Some ask where are we going? What is our destination? The legend also says that some time during the journey, there is a sharp curve that cannot be seen around. The legend says you can see older caterpillars enter the curve, but they are soon lost to view, and no ones knows what happens after they enter the curve. But the legend says that if the caterpillars escape the pitfalls of the journey, they will each find out what happens around the curve. The legend says that something must happen that is irreversible, for none have ever returned. But somewhere deep within the caterpillar is a feeling, an urge to believe that something great lies beyond the curve. That all of this constant eating and growing and traveling has some other purpose other than just the eating and traveling.
Finally after the caterpillars had grown strong from all the eating, and from the trials and tribulations, they came to the curve in the road. When approaching the curve some of them become confused, as they find that their appetite decreases. But still they continue on and discover that they were all of a sudden very tired, so tired that they felt a need to find a safe place and rest.
After looking around and finding a secure place, the caterpillars anchors themselves to the stem of a leaf and fall into a deep sleep. As soon as they fall asleep, they are enveloped in something like a cocoon that completely surrounds them. They don’’t know how long they slept, but while they were asleep, deep changes occurred in their bodies. All the food that they had constantly eaten and some of which had been stored was now used to bring about all of these deep changes occurring within their bodies.
After an interminable amount of time--from their point of view-- they began to gain consciousness and immediately they struggled to free themselves from the cocoon. After struggling, they finally emerged and realize right away that they were different. All the pain and suffering was gone, and they had no memory of it. They had been changed into a beautiful butterfly. They only saw that which was true, beautiful, and good. They had been born again. And now they also discovered that they could fly.
And as they flew, they discovered their new purpose: to be as flying flowers, the beauty of the land; to sip the nectar of the gods. And as they sipped, they assisted in fertilizing other flowers, so that they became helpers of the gods. And all summer long, they carried out this glorious work.
Oftentimes, brothers and sisters, in our journey through this life, with its trials and tribulations, we sometimes wonder not only why life is this way, but why we are born to suffer the way we sometimes do. Sometimes as we travel through this land of travail, we only know of material values and meanings.
Sometimes we become discouraged, and our faith flounders. Sometimes we are so hard-pressed that we seek to escape the rigors of the material life; but we cannot escape them. We may distract ourselves momentarily, but the full consciousness of the rigors of life always return. But something within keeps us going down the road of life.
We seek God to help us with our struggles, and sometimes we seek God to remove us from our struggles. Sometimes we feel that we just can’’t take anymore. But He always says, "My grace is sufficient." Just as the caterpillars could not see around the curve of life, neither can we. But we have been told that a glorious destiny awaits us if we faithfully run the race of life. And even though the Father does not remove us from the struggles of mortal living, He provides us with the spiritual meanings and values of the struggles. He provides us with a new purpose, a spiritual purpose that will sustain us and a purpose that is not subject to the ups and downs of material life. He provides us with a glimpse of His magnificent character as we allow Him to serve others through us, revealing His love and mercy. He makes real to our consciousness that there is a glorious destiny awaiting us, just as it awaited the caterpillar in the parable.
And even though we must live the material life, He also makes it possible for us to live a spiritual life now, the same life we will have after we make the metamorphosis from life in the flesh to life in the spirit. We can enjoy the spirit of this new life now, if we so desire, by the technique of submitting our will to the Father’’s will. We can even become one with Him through His Son, Jesus. And all of this is possible if we only believe.
This concludes today's message on understanding the parable of the caterpillar. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.