While swinging in our backyard with our children a few weeks back, we noticed the most beautiful butterfly! It was a big tiger swallowtail and it truly could have been one of the biggest I’ve seen in all my life. Across our fence into our neighbor’s yard, they have a large screened in porch, more commonly known as a lanai here locally.
The butterfly had flown into the lanai due to a broken portion in their roof screening—after the hurricane that ripped through this area a few months back. And as a result, the strong and robust insect continued to fly around the expansive lanai’s roof screening, hoping to find the same way out that had led it in.
As we watched this beautiful butterfly, the Lord showed me a Biblical truth. The butterfly tried every place it hoped to be the ripped screening to exit this large enclosure. And what had initially just been a passing motion, had now found the insect in true peril. There was only one way out and the cobwebs of spiders that had captured other struggling and exhausted butterflies wafted in the wind. I could see that unless this butterfly found the one way back out of the lanai, the same end awaited this breathtaking butterfly.
I explained to our children that all people will try to live life that seems right in their own sight, but in the end, the Bible encouraged each person to pursue a lifestyle that is pleasing to God because God weighs the heart (Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 16:2). We are not to pursue the passions and pleasures of this world, for the devil wants to destroy our eternal focus and the focus of those around us with whatever needed; the good, the bad and the ugly—but praise God, that Jesus came to give us life and life in abundance (Mark 4:19, John 10:10, Romans 12:2 & Ephesians 6:12). We spoke of the urgency of sharing of the saving love and eternal grace offered to all who would confess the wrongs and naughty things done in life and decides to follow Jesus Christ, the Risen Son of God (Isaiah 44:22, John 3:16, Galatians 3:13 & 1 John 4:9-10).
It’s not just enough to simply know the way to gain right standing with God through Jesus—even if these facts are memorized! No, that is not sufficient; action must be taken and faith must be established through trusting in Jesus Christ…plus nothing (Romans 10:9-10). Jesus Christ is the only way to freedom from the separation from God that we merit through our rebellion of sin (John 10:9, John 11:25, John, 14:6 & Ephesians 1:7). We didn’t give it much more thought as we played for the rest of the afternoon before coming inside for dinner.
“1“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4“And you know the way where I am going.” 5Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
John 14:1-6 (NASB)
The following afternoon, as we went out back to play after school, we hopped onto the swings. And as we did, a strange form caught my eye from the top of our neighbor’s lanai screening. In the very top left section of the screen roofing, entwined in a white web, hung the same tiger swallowtail from the day previous. The children watched, as its now lifeless form wafted in the spring breeze blowing through their screened enclosure. I explained that although people do not “have time” to speak of Jesus Christ or matters of eternity, the urgency is real (2 Corinthians 4:3-6). It will never come down to how many good works we do to get out of our own lanai which the Bible calls sin (Romans 3:23). The only way out of our sinful state is not positive thinking or channeling some…that surely didn’t help the powerful butterfly. The only way out of our lanai of sin is the ripped screen known as the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53:5).
You see, when Jesus Christ died a criminal’s death, as an innocent man, He bore the weigh of sin, shame, guilt and regret that belongs to each and every person in all of humanity (John 4:34). He was sinless, but took on our sin on the cross to give us new life (Romans 5:8). After Jesus forgave the repentant thief on the cross next to Him as they died—amidst mocking, spitting and demonic laughter—Jesus asked the Father in heaven to forgive these same people and committed His spirit to the Father. And with these next words freedom was purchased… “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30).
” 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:50-54 (NASB)
Ladies, may we receive an urgent charge in the faith. It’s time to share of Jesus Christ to all who are in our spheres of influence. It’s time to no longer care if friendships will be lost or if opinions of us will be changed for speaking passionately of Jesus Christ. It’s a matter of literal life and death. May we choose to speak of life—eternal life—found for all who are seeking through the Risen Lord Jesus Christ alone. Because of the reality that Jesus rose again to life on the third day from the grave (Matthew 12:40, Matthew 28:1-20 & John 10:17-18), there is freedom offered to all: young, old, male, female, freckled faced, hair club member or bingo player….ALL are offered freedom from the bondage of sin through the finished work of our Risen Messiah, Jesus Christ.
“16But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.17When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)