I recently attended a revival service at my church. The speaker read the following story and the above video concerning John Harper, pastor from Scotland who was aboard the Titanic. This story is little known, but is one of true love as he sacrificed his life to save souls until he, too, succumbed to the icy waters.
Harper’s reputation as an evangelist was so well known that he was invited to speak at The Moody Church in 1910. I have in my possession a photocopy of a letter, in his own handwriting, which reads, “I have been in Chicago for three months, God gave us a very precious and wonderful revival of continuous services each day and sometimes even more often.” He went on to say that he now had been invited back to The Moody Church for another three months of meetings.
And so it was that John Harper, his sister, and his six-year-old daughter (his wife had died) found themselves on the great ship, the Titanic. Survivors later reported that as Titanic began to sink, Harper admonished people to be prepared to die. He made sure his sister and daughter were in a lifeboat even as he continued to share the Gospel with whoever would listen. And when he found himself in the icy water with a life jacket, floating near another man, Harper asked, “Are you saved?”
“No, I’m not saved!” the desperate man replied.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!” Harper shouted.
One report says Harper, knowing he could not survive long in the icy water, took off his life jacket and threw it to another person with the words, “You need this more than I do!” Moments later, Harper disappeared beneath the water. Four years later, when there was a reunion of the survivors of the Titanic, the man to whom Harper had witnessed told the story of his rescue and gave a testimony of his conversion recorded in a tract, I was John Harper’s Last Convert.
Before disappearing beneath the two and a half miles of water, John Harper shared, for the last time, the message of Christmas, which, in a nutshell, is that Jesus came to earth to die in our stead that we might be saved. This Gospel does not spare us from drowning in an ocean, but it does spare us from a far worse eternal destruction.
(Courtesy of “John Harper’s Last Convert” by Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, moodymedia.org)