As I watch the rescue of the Chilean miners unfold live from “Camp Hope”, I am moved by the scenes of rejoicing as their capsule, the Phoenix 2, emerges from the small bore hole. As each miner is lifted out one by one from their stony prison, the rejoicing continues.
I began to think about how their rescue mirrors our only hope of deliverance from the darkness of our sin: God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Only He can reunite us in heaven with God our Heavenly Father and Creator.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. Colossians 1:13
TRAPPED IN DARKNESS
The men were trapped in the darkness of the mine. There was NO WAY out. There was nothing they could do to free themselves. After the dust settled they tried to look for a way out, they might have even tried to do something in desperation, but all attempts were in vain. Not only was there no way out, their time was limited. They did not have a lot of food and fresh water to survive. Even if they did have enough food and water, the conditions under which they were living in the mine would rapidly cause their bodies to deteriorate and become disease ridden. If they could not get out, death was imminent. We are all trapped in the circumstances of our sin. Sin is always at work wrecking havoc on us. If we remain in that condition we face a certain eternal death.
For the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. John 10:10
For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:26
For over two weeks these men had little hope of rescue. There was no contact with the outside world for days and they had no way of knowing if anyone even knew of their situation. As far as they knew, it had been assumed they were buried alive when the accident occurred. They had no knowledge of those that were already working to save them from their situation.
Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12
However, their situation had been made known to the whole world. Literally thousands of people were working to evaluate their situation and rescue them if they were still alive. “Camp Hope” was quickly established near the entrance to the mine where government officials, scientists, engineers, and family members gathered for one cause: to seek and to save the trapped miners. Finally after 17 days of waiting for some sign of hope, the small contact tunnel reached the miner’s refuge bringing them hope.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19
Learning that all 33 miners were still alive, the experts prepared a plan to rescue them. Implementation of the plan would be costly and require great sacrifice. When the miners received the news of this rescue plan it gave them hope that they could make it through their present trials because they knew this life they were presently experiencing was not the end, there was hope of a better future – freedom from the darkness of the mine!!!!
Who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:5-7
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5
For the men trapped in the mine, the rescue mission team was their only hope. There was NOTHING they could do to save themselves. There’s was a task of patience, hope, and faith in those working above them. There was much they could do, however, in preparation of the promised day when they would be rescued.
They received specific instructions about how to take care of themselves and given tasks to perform. In faith they carried out those tasks. They followed the instructions given from above to make sure everything and everybody would be ready when the big day arrived.
”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. John 5:24-25
THE GREAT DAY
In recent days, they began to see all types of signs that the GREAT DAY was coming as they witnessed the giant jaws of the 28” drill punch a huge whole in their stony prison. Then they heard the capsule come within a few feet of them as it was lowered on its test run. What a great sense of hope that sign must have brought to them that the GREAT DAY was getting very near.
Finally, late last night, the promised capsule with rescue worker on board entered into the cavern and suddenly, they were no longer alone. Someone had been sent to rescue them.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. Luke 6:23
Now all that remained for them to do was get into the capsule and trust it to take them to the surface where loved ones, freedom, and those who had worked to save them were waiting. Of course, it took faith to get into that small vessel knowing that they would have to pass through a 2000 ft birth canal of stone to be raised up to their new life out of the mine.
Jesus answeres and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
As crazy as it sounds, some could have refused the ride. They could have said in pride, I’m going to get myself out of this mess, I don’t need your help. In fear they could have said, I’m scared of that capsule, it looks like a cage, or worse, a coffin. It’s a death trap. Some might not have wanted to give up the life they had come accustomed to as a prisoner of the mine. They could say, “ I don’t want to be locked up in that thing, I want to be free to do what I want down here. Or yet, another could have said, “ I don’t trust that thing. I don’t believe it will carry me to the surface.”
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:16
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Ephesians 2:8
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
But, of course, they knew it was the only way out and they gladly placed themselves in the capsule. They may have had some fears and apprehension about getting into it, but they believed in those that had prepared it and had sent it to them.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
REBIRTH – A NEW LIFE
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
The miners were supplied with special clothes for their new surroundings. Time and again, reporters said that their lives would never be the same. Of course, in order for all of this to happen, the miners had to give up their old way of life in the mine. We hardly think of that because with good reason we ask, “Why would anyone want to remain in that prison of darkness?”
Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds. Ephesians 4:21-13
They had to put themselves in to the capsule in order to be rescued, for it was the only way out. They were, in a sense, placing themselves in a type of coffin that would be “ baptized” by 2000 ft. of rock before it would reach the surface. So they were buried in the capsule and at the same time raised to new life within it.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:4
The miners had to be given special sunglasses to wear because of the stark contrast of living in darkness for so long and suddenly be exposed to the brightness of the sun.
The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Matthew 4:16
They were resurrected to their new life as the capsule exited the rock and delivered them to the rejoicing multitude.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Romans 8:11
Oh yes, there was great rejoicing in CAMP HOPE when just one of the miners returned from that grave of stone. There was great rejoicing because the one that was lost had returned.
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7
And of course, the miners were rejoicing because they had been freed from that which had been holding them prisoner in the darkness!
They were free at last!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36