Skip to comments.JOHN HARPER: True Hero on the Titanic
Posted on 04/09/2012 7:17:51 AM PDT by wmfights
John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was thirteen years old that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to "sow his wild oats." He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years old by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.
As John Harper's life unfolded, one thing was apparent...he was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply "The Word of God!" After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by Rev. E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time of energy to the work so dear to his heart. Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members, had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time he had gotten married, but was shortly thereafter widowed. However brief the marriage, God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.
Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next...
It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship's launch, it was the world's largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship's starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in.
On board the ship that night was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him again someday. The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner.
As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, "Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!" It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.
That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. 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 who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and 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 1528 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 survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr. 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 selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends..." John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!
Of the 1528 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 survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr. 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."
I came across this history by chance and thought you might find it uplifting.
Timely....and awesome story. I watched a lengthy special on TV last night about James Cameron, the Titanic, etc., etc.
Thanks for posting. Somehow I don’t feel very proud of my life in Christ right now.
Cameron takes the last minute of the show to rub the global warming hoax in our face. Have no idea what it has to do with the Titanic.
I wonder why this remarkable story didn’t make it into Cameron’s largely fictitious, cartoonish soap opera.
Yeah, he sure did.......which is precisely when I decided to just shut it off. It marred an otherwise outstanding program.
Very important story, thanks.
We would never have had the New Testament epistles had Paul not be imprisoned and here is a man who would not have been rescued by Christ had the Titanic not taken Porter down. We rarely realize how important sufferings of others are to us.
Curious...any word on Nana?
What an absolutely fabulous point!
Curious...any word on Nana?
I found out that Nana, who was 6, and her caregiver survived and were brought to New York where a Moody Church pastor and an elder met them to help care for them. I don't know if they brought them back to Chicago.
I know the feeling. FWIW, I try to remember these histories when I have the opportunity to share The Gospel even though it may be socially awkward to do so.
Maybe this documentary was made years ago, before "global warming" was exposed to be just another big government scam to separate Americans from their money? I'm sure Cameron is as embarrassed about that as anybody. Anyway, I loved his movie. He's made a lot of extremely entertaining movies over the years.
Miss Annie Jessie Harper and her Aunt Jessie Leitch, who survived the sinking with her, returned to England a week later. “Nan” grew up there, married a minister, and died in 1986.
Aunt Jessie died in 1963.
I have yet watched the movie.....I won't!! 'A Night to Remember' was good, but read about the Titantic. (I'm into shipwrecks... reading about the Edmund Fitzgerald now!)
Wow. Just wow.
Cameron does a good job of recreating the legendary Titanic itself, as well as representing cinematically, the flow of events of the disaster.
Where he veers badly off course is in grossly misrepresenting what I believe to be the most compelling storyline of the entire event; the almost universal exemplary and civilized behavior of the passengers and especially the crew.
Too, there is the puerile portrayal of the “rich” 1st class passengers, as uniformly cowardly, evil, greedy and dishonorable, particularly in juxtaposition to the fictitious lead character played by DiCaprio. Embarrassingly clumsy and transparent.
Thank you. Passed it on to my Efriends.
As long as you feel guilt, He’s in touch with you. Work at changing your heart. Leave those guilt feelings behind and find reasons to be happy in His service, even if it is just to lift up another as I am.
Every lil’ bit helps.
OH YEAH! KEEP the FAITH, no matter how bad times may get. He’s there. He opens doors. He never closes them. He’s OPEN 24 HOURS, just for you.
Blessings to you my FRiend. As a believer I long for a greater — life-altering — infusion of the Spirit and that the power of the Spirit would invade the heart of His church body. I long for this transformative power rather than the weak, feeble trickle of His power that I/we experience which seems to have little affect on our world today.
Just why is the body so feeble that allows darkness to so semingly easily prevail today? Where is His power that is promised in Scripture? Where are the spiritual giants of our time?
Through our despair, He brings everyone closer. This country is growing closer to Him, because of our dire consequences ahead. We have allowed the minority faithless to rule for too long.
China’s Christian population would not be growing if all was well. Africa and the Middle East are turning to the One True God, which is why many are being persecuted there.
We, too, may see persecution, even torture and death, in our future as long as we hold onto our Faith. “But, as for me, give me liberty (and Jesus) or give me death!”
So say we all.
THanks for posting this!
Thanks for adding the detail.