"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is a wonderful book by Eric Carle. The story begins with a tiny egg on a leaf in the light of the moon. On a Sunday morning, the warm sun came up and -- pop! -- out of the egg came a very small and very hungry caterpillar. He began to eat, and eat, and eat, but he was still hungry. Finally, he had eaten so much that he had a stomach ache! The next day was Sunday again. The caterpillar ate through a nice green leaf, and his stomach felt much better. He built a small house, called, a cocoon, around himself and stayed in there for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon and pushed his way out. Guess what? He wasn't a caterpillar any more, he was now a beautiful butterfly.
The story of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" reminds me of the story of a man in our Bible lesson for today. It is the story of a man by the name of Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a very religious man and was a leader of the Pharisees. He spent a lot of time studying the Scriptures, but there was still much that he didn't understand. Nicodemus came to Jesus late one night, because he was hungry. No, he wasn't looking for a late night snack, he was hungry for spiritual food. He was hungry for the truth about the kingdom of God. He came to Jesus because he had questions and he knew that Jesus would have the answers.
"Teacher," Nicodemus said to Jesus, "we all know that God has sent you to teach us. No one could perform the miracles that you are doing if God were not with him."
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God."
"What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicodemus. "How can a man be born again?"
Jesus went on to explain to Nicodemus that a person is "born again" when the Spirit of God enters into his heart. "Humans can reproduce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, 'You must be born again.'"
"How are these things possible?" Nicodemus said scratching his head.
Think about the story of "The Hungry Caterpillar?" When he came out of his cocoon, he wasn't an improved caterpillar, was he? No,he was a totally new creation. A butterfly! That's the way it is when we let Jesus into our heart. He doesn't just make us a better person. He makes us a new creation!
Heavenly Father, we praise you that in Christ Jesus we are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! In Jesus name we pray, amen.