John 3:16 – PARABLE OF THE LOST MINERS
The world watched as 33 Chilean miners TRAPPED underground for 69 days were rescued. The last miner was rescued on Thursay October 14, 2010, a day marked with celebration and joy all around the world. The President of Chile said that Chile will never be the same.
One of the rescued men, Mario Sepulveda, said “I was with God and I was with the devil. They fought and God won the battle. I reached out and took hold of God’s hand. I never doubted that I would be rescued.” According to one article a number of men and their loved ones gave their lives to Christ during the ordeal as they prayed and reached out for God’s help.
Scientists and engineers WORKED day and night to design and drill an ESCAPE hole half a mile down to the trapped miners. 69 days later, they lowered a capsule from CAMP HOPE down to the men. It took 50 minutes to rescue each man. One newspaper headline read “FREED FROM HELL TO HOPE”. As the steel caged capsule surfaced it was as if each man was given NEW LIFE, SAVED, DELIVERED, REBORN.
It got me thinking about what this story would look like if Jesus told it as a parable. I’m sure it would go something like this.
“Once there was a wise, good and powerful King. His kingdom was known as the kingdom of Hope and it was the richest kingdom in the world. He ruled his people with love and justice. The kingdom of Hope was known throughout the world and other kings would seek to emulate the leadership of the great King. His writings and pronouncements were valued. For countless generations his family had ruled the land which was rich in beauty and mineral wealth. His people worked the land and as they ploughed the fields they would find diamonds and gold. As they ate the fruit of the orchards they would find health and strength. As they obeyed their king they prospered and he encouraged his people to share the wealth of the land with their families and with others all around the world. His exports were prized by many people – gold, silver, precious stones, fruit from his orchards and many other riches.
Not satisfied with working the land and planting orchards for food, the people became greedy and decided to find more efficient ways to extract the mineral wealth of the land. They dug a huge mine miles into the earth and worked night and day. Their families suffered as sons and daughters were without their fathers for many days on end. They became very rich from the resources they unearthed, but careless in their work practises and in their family relationships.
The wise king established safety precautions for them to follow but they were largely ignored so it was not surprising that there were many serious accidents and sure enough one day the mine collapsed. Many of the men from the kingdom became trapped in the bowels of the earth. As earth showered down upon them they stopped digging, left their tools and ran for their lives to a section of the mine that remained intact. Some men were wounded and had to be carried to safety. For a while they were stunned at the situation they found themselves in. They cried out in anguish and fear. But then many of them began to blame eachother. Fights began to break out. Then their anger turned towards the king. It was his fault that the safety precautions were not enforced! Soon a number of the men began shouting their abuse and slandering the name of the king.
Others began examining the instructions in the safety manual that the king had written to see if there was something they could do. They found a procedure which would let the king and those on the surface know that they were alive, so that the king could find a way to get them out. They knew the king would know where they were and that they were alive, but they cried out to him and made as much noise as they could. Others told them to be quiet and that the king didn’t care.
From Camp Hope the king soon drilled a small shaft down to the men. He said that the small shaft was just a promise of things to come when a larger hole would be drilled. The miners sent a note up to tell him that they were alive. Food and air was provided by the king along with an assurance that he would provide the way out. Some of the men continued to slander the name of the king, convinced that he intended to kill them.
Days and months went by. Periodically a note would come down the small shaft with a message from the king saying that a hole was being drilled and that someone was coming to save them. A physician would come down through a shaft to the men and examine them. He would give medical assistance and then bring each of them to safety. Many of the men did not believe. They saw no evidence of escape or the help that the king was providing them from above. They decided to make the best of it and ignore the messages and simply receive the provision from above that came through the smaller shaft.
Nevertheless the king continued to drill down to the men, day by day, and continued to send reassuring messages down through the small shaft.
The day finally came when the escape hole was nearly finished. The king sent final instructions through to the men to prepare the way as he drilled through the final few feet to the roof of their prison.
The king was so excited! He had done everything possible to provide a way to rescue the men. In camp Hope their was great celebration that the men would finally be rescued. The king decided to send his own son who was the best physician in the land down in an escape capsule from camp Hope to the trapped men. He was surprised that when he arrived far below that their were few men who welcomed him. He began to bring healing to the wounded men and gave instructions for each person to be rescued.
Some of the miners, after all the work that had been done for them, decided they DIDN’T WANT TO BE RESCUED and walked back into the darkness of the mineshaft, away from the capsule which had been made to bring them to safety and celebration on the surface? They refused to be saved and decided to stay behind? They tried to KILL THE PHYSICIAN who came to examine them, SLANDERED his name, the capsule, the king, the citizens of the kingdom of Hope and they stayed behind. They didn’t want to be hugged by the king of Hope! They didn’t want their lives changed forever? They said to the kings son, “I REJECT ALL YOUR WORK to save me. I DON’T WANT TO BE RESCUED!””
What is the meaning of this parable? John 3:16-18 (NLT) says “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” Jesus has done everything He could do to save me from the penalty of my sin. There is nothing left for Him to do, but I am left with a choice as to whether or not I respond to the conviction in my heart and receive Christ as my Saviour.
Like the miners who agreed to be rescued I stepped into the very love of God and received new life and hope for the future. As I emerged the King of kings wrapped His arms around me to the applause of heaven. My life will never be the same.