The butterfly has long been a symbol of the resurrection. The butterfly symbolizes rebirth into a new life after being inside a cocoon for a period of time.
To understand the symbolism, it is important to understand the life cycle of a butterfly. The butterfly has three phases during its life: the caterpillar, the chrysalis or cocoon, and the butterfly. The caterpillar just eats-symbolizing normal earthly life when people are preoccupied with taking care of their normal earthly needs. The caterpillar spins itself into a chrysalis or cocoon, resembling the tomb. The butterfly emerges from the cocoon, representing the resurrection and a glorious new life, free of material restrictions.
This symbolism also tracks the life of Christ. When Christ died on the cross, he was placed in a tomb. At the end of three days he arose from the dead. In the resurrection of Jesus, God was doing the same kind of thing he does when he makes butterflies out of worms. When people die, because of Christ’s resurrection, we know it is possible for them to live again, too.
The butterfly symbolizes the resurrection. The symbolism is related to the following verses, written by Paul. The theme of Paul’s teachings is that “we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51) The Christian hope is that what is sown in the grave as a weak mortal body will be raised an indestructible spiritual body not subject to temptation, sorrow, death or pain. (1 Corinthians 15:44-54) Through death the spirit will escape-not from its body but from the vulnerabilities and hardships of mortal flesh. The victory of eternal life over death represented by the butterfly makes it a favorite image on old tombstones.
“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
“For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.(1 Corinthians 15:52b)
There is a butterfly by the name of the Cleopatra butterfly which appears during the Easter season. In some countries the nickname of this butterfly is the “Easter Jesus.” The “Easter Jesus” and, in fact, all butterflies can serve as a reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and how his sacrifice has given all of us the opportunity for life eternal.