The Harper Family

The night the Titanic sank in 1912, on April 14th, 1,528 people went into the frigid waters. After putting his only daughter on a lifeboat, John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water, leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal.

Rev. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between breaths, “Are you saved?” The young man replied that he was not. Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man, near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket, threw it to the man, and said, “Here then, you need this more than I do…” and swam away to other people.

A few minutes later, Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. 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 on the debris.

Four years later, at a survivor’s meeting, this young man stood up and, in tears, recounted how John Harper had led him to Christ. Rev. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people, yet because of the intense cold, had grown 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 remember this man? No. Oh well, no matter. This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and were selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.

John Harper knew what it meant to live life with urgency. (Credit: Pastor Danny Zorn).