Tag Archives: Gospel

Chilean Miners Rescued – God gets the glory

Today’s dramatic rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners serves as a global platform to put the Glory of God on display.  The miners have been trapped in the San Jose copper mine, Chile,  since August 5th, a total of 69 days in a tunnel more than 1,970 feet underground.  Rescuers have designed an escape tube 26 inches wide to hoist each miner to the surface.  As of this writing, the rescue mission is ongoing with more than half of the miners being rescued in a dramatic event that has captivated a worldwide audience.  As one news story notes, the event is being seen by an estimated 1 Billion people.  Another story notes that the miners were sustained by eating 2 spoonfuls of tuna and a sip of milk every 48 hours for the first 17 days in temperatures exceeding 90 degrees.  In a surprising twist of selflessness, the miners actually began to argue, not over who would exit first, but who would exit last. 

So how then can God get glory from an epic disaster that drew the attention of the world?  As Mario Sepulveda Espinace, the second miner rescued, stated “I met God.  I met the Devil.  God won.”  And as always, God did win.  Along with additional food, water, medicine, survival clothing, and handwritten notes, a Chilean evangelist sent 33 copies of the Bible down to them so that the miners could “find inspiration and hold up for the 4 months they have ahead.”  The 4-months was an early estimate for the expected rescue.  Chilean engineer Igor Bravo, member of First Baptist Church of Santiago, was responsible for sending down the Bibles, Bible studies, recordings of sermons and Christian music down a series of small shafts through which the other supplies were sent.  “I had to help in some Christian way,” Bravo said. “If there is an opportunity to share the Gospel — even if we’re extremely occupied — and to contribute to the Christian cause and evangelism, it’s something that’s in [my] blood.”

3 of the 33 trapped miners are reportedly evangelical Christians, yet it is being reported that 2 more of them have made professions of faith since being trapped.  One of the original 3, Jose Henriquez, has been leading Bible studies for the miners each evening.  “It [Bible study] started out 5, 10, now 20 participants,” Bravo said. “[The people on the surface] have José Henríquez identified as the spiritual leader; they call him ‘The Pastor.'”  Additionally, the family members of the miners have been witnessed to by Pastor Marcelo Leiva, of Vallenar Baptist Church of Vallenar, Chile.  The wife of one of the miners has also become a Christian since this disaster.  “This has been a testimony to what the Lord can do in a person’s life,” Leiva said. “Those that are the children of the Lord have been those that have shown, even in the midst of the storm, a testimony of peace, tranquility and trust in the Lord.”  Pastor Leiva has also been able to witness to other family members, Chilean policemen, and foreign press, including a Japanese reporter.  As the rescue mission takes place and will soon be coming to a close the on-site Gospel sharing will likewise soon end, but Pastor Leiva maintains his obedience.  “Let’s do our job and fulfill the purpose for which God brought us here,” Leiva said. “Not to just have a protagonist role without sharing the Gospel.  Because this camp, in a few more days, is going to close and the people will return home. Pray that we, the children of God, will do our job.”

And herein is where God’s glory takes center stage.  Through this disaster that could’ve taken the lives of 33 miners, God has sent His Gospel message forth through the faithful ministry of one man below surface along with two of his brothers in Christ and then used them in conjunction with Christian rescuers and pastors at the surface.  In doing so, God’s Word went forth and penetrated the hearts of two of the miners and so far one family member.  The Gospel is literally being spread underground and on the surface giving greater insight into the passage from Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.”   When we read of passages such as Matthew 28:18-20 or Romans 10:14-15, we too often think these refer to someone who is “called” to be an overseas missionary or a pastor of a congregation.  The truth is, this rescue is an example of how these verses are being lived out precisely the way they were intended, in an everyday context by everyday Christians, and these miners along with their rescuers are a testimony to the saving power of God’s Word when proclaimed by those who faithfully follow Christ.

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 NKJV

Additional Sources:

http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=33842

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2606473/posts?page=1

http://www.crosswalk.com/news/commentary/11639415/

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/10/13/video-the-television-event-of-a-lifetime-2/

Really Good News!

The Gospel of Luke chapter 2 is a familiar passage that provides a wonderful, detailed account of Jesus’ birth.  In the middle of this description is a declaration by an Angel of Lord that states the purpose for not only the entire Bible, but for Christ’s reason for being born.  “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” Luke 2:10-11 ESV During this time of year, we allow our thinking to confine Jesus to a baby in a manager alongside His faithful mother Mary and stepfather Joseph, and too often we lose sight of the truths provided by the angelic messenger of God.  The angel brought good news of great joy to all people.  The Greek word here for good news should be familiar to us, it’s euaggelizo as we’ve discussed here before it means “to bring good news” or “to announce glad tidings” and it’s where we get the English equivalent to preach or evangelize the Gospel, or good news.  The apostle Paul uses this same Greek word in Romans 10:15 NKJV, “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”  The King James has a great translation here because it shows the usage of this word euaggelizo twice, “the gospel of peace” and “glad tidings.”

 

But what is this good news that the angel is speaking of at the birth of Christ and just how is it supposed to bring great joy to all men?  Here is where we must not allow our minds to confine Jesus to a child, instead realize this is God incarnate and recognize the foreshadowing that the angel is providing as he continues his message in verse 11 and pronounces the arrival of a Savior, Christ the Lord.  Think about how significant this is, that Christ was born to die for our sins. (John 3:17) It wasn’t tragic circumstances or something unfortunate; this was the original plan, for Him to die for us.  The angel of the Lord pronounced that at His birth with the statement “a Savior is born.”  Prophets of old declared this would be so as we read of His birth in Isaiah 9:6 and of His death in Isaiah 53:10.  Christ came to this earth with the sole purpose of dying for your sins and mine.  How can this not be good news?  This is the great joy that the angel speaks of.  This good news is that a Savior has come to not only take away the burden of our sins, but to impute His righteousness on us (Romans 3:22) and through this divert, or propitiate (Romans 3:25), the wrath of God from us to Him.  This is so much more than memorizing John 3:16 and reciting it in “ho-hum” fashion.  God sent His Son Jesus into the world to take the sins of the world on Him and then to die for those sins so that we might live if we only believe.  That’s love!  How can we not trust in a Savior that did that for us?

 

Each of us knows that death is a reality.  But do we every really think that we are born with the purpose of dying?  Add to that the amazing truth that Christ took on the sins of the world those before his death and after and you get just a glimmer of how amazing this transaction was for us.  II Corinthians 5:21 ESV says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Who made Jesus to be sin?  God did.  God sent him to earth to be sin for us, even though He was pure and sinless, so that if we believe and trust Jesus as Savior we might have the righteousness of God in Him.  Meaning literally that if we trust Christ we will be able to stand at judgment before a Holy God, not because of our own righteousness or anything that we’ve done, but because of the righteousness through Jesus, so that at that judgment we shall be declared not guilty of our sins.  Do you realize what good news this is?  This is truly the greatest gift of all and that is exactly what Christmas is all about: Behold good news of great joy!  A Savior is born, Christ the Lord.