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  • Writer's pictureAddison Crissone

John Harper

Everyone knows about the Titanic- the so called ‘unsinkable ship’ that sank a few days into its maiden voyage.

The story and mystery of the Titanic has allured and enchanted people for decades, some have even attempted to see its wreckage in the very depths of the ocean.

But, today, I don’t want to talk about the boat itself, rather, a certain Scottish man aboard the ship.

His name was John Harper, a Preacher traveling with his sister and six-year-old daughter to America to visit the Moody Church in Chicago- hoping to accept the churches’ kind offer for him to be their new preacher.

Harper was a sociable and well-learned man- loved for his sharp intelligence of the Bible.

It was this intelligence that led him to preach while he was aboard the Titanic- even while it was sinking.

After securing his sister and daughter a seat safely on a lifeboat, he returned to the second-class deck as the boat began to tip and the people rushed to put on any available life vest, and climb into any empty seat in the lifeboats.

Children clung tightly to their mothers, some crying in the turmoil and calling to their fathers who had to stay behind.

John Harper began to call over all the shouts and cries of the people,

 “Believe in the Lord Jesus!” He cries to them, turning and pleading with any one in whom may accept the invitation.

They fly past him without giving him a second glance.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus!” He repeats.

One man runs into John in his hurried pursuit of safety.

“Please,” John says, “Will you accept the Salvation of Christ?”

The man shakes his head furiously as the boat tips farther, making it hard to stand.

“We are going down, the ship is sinking, what do I care!?!” the man says reproachfully, shaking his fists.

John takes his life vest off, offering it to the man,

“You need this more than I do.” He tells him.

Soon, the ship has nearly sunk and most of its inhabitants are left floundering in the icy water- poor John Harper included.

Trying to stay afloat in the fatally-cold water, he swims to another man floating on a thin piece of wood, asking once again,

“Will you accept the Salvation of Jesus Christ?” 

The man shakes his head, uncertain and freezing, but John could see the hunger in his eyes.

“Will you accept the Salvation of Jesus Christ?” He asks a second time.

And this time, the man nods and whispers,


John smiles.

And there, in the icy water surrounded by the wreckage of the Titanic, John leads the man to know Jesus as savior- only moments before John Harper takes his last breath.

We need to be like John Harper- fearlessly faithful and bold in spreading the gospel- no matter our circumstance. Will you be bold today?

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