John Harper's Last Convert Kyle Asmus

March 19, 2018



  • How much Bible and theology should I know before I tell someone about Christ?
  • How long must I invest in a relationship with Him before I can talk about tough topics like sin, hell, and salvation?
  • How polished must my “Gospel Presentation” be before I feel comfortable enough to share it with another person?

I think one of the primary reasons we fail to share our faith is because we all ask these three questions.

And we all answer them with ridiculously high expectations. We feel insecure about our knowledge, we do not want to offend people, so instead of telling them about the Hope found in Christ, we say, “evangelism (sharing my faith) is not one of my gifts." I understand that line of thinking. In fact, I struggle with these same anxieties as well. And I’m a pastor!

But I was recently reminded of the story of John Harper, which encouraged me.

John Harper was a pastor from Glasgow, Scotland who was sailing on the Titanic. He was on his way to Chicago with his daughter when the ship hit an iceberg on April 14th, 1912. It was then that Harper sprung into action. Knowing the fate that awaited so many of the passengers, Harper wrapped his daughter in a blanket, set her in a lifeboat, and kissed her good-bye. He then began sharing the Gospel with anyone and everyone who would listen.

The ship sank hours later. Harper didn’t survive the night.

However, a story was told four years later by Aguilla Webb.

I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a spar that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper of Glasgow, also on a piece of wreck, near me. ‘Man,’ he said, ‘Are you saved?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I am not.’ He replied, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.’ The waves bore him away; but, strange to say brought him back a little later, and he said, ‘Are you saved now?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I cannot honestly say that I am.’ He said again, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,’ and shortly after he went down; and there, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed.

I am John Harper’s last convert.

Harper didn’t discuss theology. He didn’t have an eloquent speech prepared. He didn’t even care to ask the gentlemen his name. He spoke 11 words. Literally,

11 words changed Aguilla Webb’s eternal destiny.

The story of John Harper reminds me to get over myself. It’s not about what I know or don’t know. It’s not about feeling insecure or self-conscious. It’s simply about caring for people and helping them walk with God.

Who in your life needs to hear the Gospel? What’s keeping you from sharing? Let’s learn from John Harper. All we need to do is tell them and let God do the rest!





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