“The 33” is a movie based on the true story of 33 men who were trapped in a copper mine for 69 days. You may recall the event from 2010 that had the whole world watching and praying for the men from Chile living 200 stories below the earth. This is a powerful story of human survival, faith, and hope.

The movie does show the men praying and discussing faith, but I believe that in reality the men clung much more to God than the movie even begins to portray. You can find out more about the faith of the real life miners in this article from CNN.

The miners have even had an opportunity to meet with Pope Francis since their rescue. Pope Francis gave them each a rosary and told them, I believe that any of you would be capable of coming here and saying what hope means. Thank you for trusting in God.”

A few lessons we can learn from this incredible story:

1. Never Give Up Hope and Trust in God – “I believe we’ll make it out of here because I choose to believe it, all 33 of us!” – Mario Sepúlveda (played in the movie by Antonio Banderas) At many points in the movie it is evident that a few of the men are giving up hope. What kept their hope alive? How did they help one another through it?

2. We need the gifts of the Body of Christ – One of the elements crucial to the miners’ survival was that they all worked together. Some of the men were skilled at electrical work and helped to keep the lights running. Others were better at distributing food equally. Another had a sense of humor that kept spirits high. Each gift, each person, was an integral part of the community.

3. Always Carry Your Bible – It might seem like a simplistic lesson to take away from such a powerful movie, but I could not help but think that it was a miracle that one of the men had carried his Bible into the mine. We never know what life may throw at us. Be prepared by having the Word of God with you wherever you go.

4. A Good Leader Sacrifices, Apologizes, and Cares – Mario Sepúlveda is the man who rises up as a leader in the movie. He sacrifices his own needs to meet the needs of others. He holds the men accountable for their actions even when it requires a difficult conversation. He is also the first to apologize when he makes a mistake. So many great qualities that make a true leader are portrayed by his character.

5. God will go to the extremes to rescue us from any pit of sin we are in – I believe that God uses modern day stories just as Jesus used parables. What is God telling us through the adventure of these 33 miners? He is willing to chase after us no matter how the odds may seem. He will go to the extremes to rescue us from any sin or despair in which we find ourselves, no matter the cost. God wants to save the hardest heart with an even greater passion than the rescuers wanted to save those miners. The story is a visual of the extremes that God is willing to go to in order to bring us to Him.

Discussion Questions:

1. What did you learn about hope from the movie? How did the miners show hope? How did their families show hope?

2. What character in the movie was most inspiring to you?

3. List 2 characters in the movie that acted as leaders. What characteristics of leadership did they teach you?

4. In what ways has God gone to the extreme for you?

Take it a step further:

Another astounding fact from the movie is that the 33 men have not received any type of compensation for the ordeal that they endured. Why do you think that is? What type of social injustices occur throughout our world today that most of us are completely unaware of? How can we raise awareness and advocate for those less fortunate than ourselves? It is estimated that over 12,000 people die each year in mining accidents. Take a moment to pray for the lives lost and the families of these men and women.