The night the Titanic sank in 1912 on April 14th, 1,528 people went from the sinking ship into the frigid waters. John Harper was there to save as many as he could, physically and spiritually. After putting his only daughter on a lifeboat, he was seen swimming frantically to help people in the freezing water. Reverend Harper was determined to lead everyone he could to Jesus before the victims froze to death or drowned.
Pastor Harper swam up to one young man who was able to get on top and float on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between struggling breaths, "Are you saved?" The young man replied that he had not accepted Jesus.
Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply in a negative manner. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the young man and said, "Here then, you need this more than I do..." and swam away to help other people.
A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and this time, the Reverend succeeded in leading him to accept Jesus. Of the 1,528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man that was found floating on the debris.
Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how John Harper had led him to Christ. He said Rev. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people, but because of the intense cold, he became too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were "Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." Does Hollywood include this story or remember this man? Of course not!!! Hollywood has a different agenda than glorifying God.
This servant of God, John Harper, did everything he could until his final breath.
While other cowardly men were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats (designated for children and women) to save their life, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved. Pastor Harper recognized the urgency required in this helpless situation. When, not if, I get to Heaven, I hope to talk with John Harper so I can thank this hero. He is the quintessential example of fulfilling the scripture below.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16
Note: While serving in the Navy I experienced the once-in-a-life-time privilege of swimming in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It was a bright sunny day with dark blue water that was not cold. My ship was not sinking and we were protected from sharks by armed sailors on the Captain’s boat nearby. Even in this setting, there were many young sailors from my ship that chose not to dive in that day. This story is featured in Broken Walk: Searching for Wisdom.
It is difficult for me to comprehend the chaos of many Titanic victims perishing in freezing water as they gasped for air prior to sinking in the dark abyss with no hope. What a horrible death for them to watch the luxurious Titanic sink in the vast darkness of an icy grave! John Harper was able to get a few of the doomed to Know Peace when there was no peace. He introduced a few of them to the Way when the only way they were destined was down. Through Jesus, Reverend Harper gave them eternal Life just before their moment of death.
It is my hope you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. If not, you will be listed as part of the lost rather than the saved at the end of your life or when the rapture comes.
The above story is featured in my upcoming book called Salvation Station: Tuning into Wisdom. It's a good one!