Devotion for Week of September 3, 2012 - THE TITANIC'S LAST HERO: Reverend John Harper


Reverend John Harper


John 6:27, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

This story was told by Mr. Lowell Lytle who portrays the ill-fated Titanic’s captain, Captain Smith, at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson, MO and Pigeon Forge, TN

There were a lot of Heroes that night in 1912.  Think of it!  The Catholic priest giving last rights till the very end; the band playing to the very end; the men standing back and letting the women and children board the lifeboats to the very end - HEROES ALL!  But this one is special.  Second Class passenger Reverend John Harper, a Scottish Baptist Minister was on his way to Chicago to preach at Moody Memorial Church.  He had preached there before and they wanted him back for three more months of meetings.  It was a huge church and it is until this day.  You must be good to preach there.

Reverend Harper thought he would take the Lusitania but changed his mind and decided to take the Titanic.  While having an evangelistic program in Glasgow, Scotland one of his parishioners overheard him say he would take the Titanic and he prayed about it.  He told Reverend harper, “I have an ominous feeling about this ship.  If you take the Lusitania I’ll pay for your ticket.”  Reverend Harper thought about it and said, “the apostle Paul wouldn’t run away from danger, if anything happens I’m ready.”

And it happened!  When the Titanic started to go down Reverend Harper’s faith was tested.  This Baptist minister ran around the deck shouting “women and children and unsaved people get aboard the life boats.”  He even took his life vest and gave it to a man that was not a believer in Jesus Christ.  His sister-in-law and daughter, Nana, were standing next to him.  They both survived.  His sister-in-law overheard him when he gave the life vest to the man, he said “Take this. . .I don’t need it. . .I’m not going down, I’m going up.”

He’s in the water now.  No life vest.  You would last for 10 to 40 minutes.  These people did not drown, THEY FROZE TO DEATH!

One man survived in a life boat.  He lived in Detroit, Michigan and later on in years when he would go see the Detroit Tigers play and someone would hit a home run and the crowd would yell and scream, he said, “it was the same sound, I hated that sound.”

Reverend Harper is now alone and with no life vest.  The water is 28 degrees.  Salt water takes longer to freeze.  It feels like a thousand knives stabbing you.  A man drifted by on a piece of wood.  Reverend Harper shouted to the man, “IS YOUR SOUL SAVED?”  the man said,  “NO.”  Reverend Harper shouted,  “BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED.”  The man drifted off into the dark and later the current drew him back.  Reverend Harper shouted again, “ARE YOU SAVED YET?”  The man said, “I CAN’T HONESTLY SAY THAT I AM.”  The Reverend Harper shouted one more time, “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED.”  And with that the Reverend slipped under the water and went to that frozen . . . watery . . . grave.

There were 12 people pulled from the water that night, six of them lived and that man on the piece of wood was one of them.  And the story was told a few weeks later in Hamilton, Ontario by that same man who said, “I LISTENED TO REVEREND HARPER’S LAST MESSAGE AND BECAME A BELIEVER IN JESUS CHRIST WITH TWO MILES OF WATER BENEATH ME.”

Titanic’s Last Hero, REVEREND JOHN HARPER.

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