”Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved you and your family.” Acts 16 verse 31.

This is a painting of a man called John Harper who was a Scottish Baptist Pastor. John was born on May 28th 1872 in the village of Houston, Renfrewshire, Scotland.  He always had a great love for Jesus Christ and began preaching at the age of 18 years of age. After being happily married for several years, sadly he was widowed, leaving one daughter named Annie Jessie. He became noted for his strong, powerful sermons and many, many people were moved to give their life to Christ through them.  He was invited to return to Moody Church, Chicago where the previous year many souls had been won to the Lord through his preaching.

At a prayer meeting in Govan, Glasgow, a few evenings before he was due to leave for Moody Church, Chicago, USA, someone at his meeting pleaded with him not to go on the RMS Titanic as the person had a foreboding feeling about the ship’s journey.  However, John was not daunted and seemed to know in his heart that it was his destiny to be on this ship so he set off with his daughter and his niece. On that fateful night at 11:40pm on April 14th, 1912 the ship hit an iceberg.  His daughter and niece were put in a lifeboat and survived, however John stayed on the ship as long as he could in order to give comfort to the people and then he jumped into the icy cold waters and made himself a makeshift raft and went round telling people about Jesus and pleading with them to give their lives to Christ.

There was one particular man who was drowning and Pastor John pleaded with him to give his life to Jesus. The man shouted ”Go away from me as I am a sinner”.  At that moment John threw his own life jacket to him and the man was saved both spiritually and physically and, thanks to the mercy of God, he was rescued by one of the few lifeboats…. Later that evening Pastor John himself died but he had saved that man’s soul for Jesus…. and probably many, many others that we don’t know about. Four years later this same man whose life was saved gave his testimony at a prayer meeting in Canada and declared: ”I was Pastor John Harper’s last convert.”

I have painted the Life Jacket’s tether in the shape of a shepherd’s crook to emphasise that Pastor John was a true shepherd of his flock…. by “laying down his life for his sheep”. Pastor John loved the Holy Bible and in the painting we can see pages of the Bible strewn in the water… The verses are:

”Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved you and your family.” Acts 16 verse 11.

”But God demonstrates His Love for us in this that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”  Romans 5 verse 8.

”The fields are white with the harvest.” John 4 verse 35.

”Tend my sheep.” John 21 verses 15-17.

“What man among you, having a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others and go to search for the one that was lost?” Luke 15 verse 4.

”For God loved the world so much that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3 verse 16.

”Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friend.” John 15 verse 13.

My own verse for Pastor John is from Matthew 25 verse 21:

”Well done good and faithful servant…. enter into the joy of your Lord.”  Amen.

On April 15th 1912… almost 110 years ago, over 1500 people died in the icy waters when RMS Titanic sank.  May their souls find rest and peace in the arms of the Lord, Amen.


“TITANIC, THE EXHIBITION, LONDON” is on at present in the Dock X, Rotherhithe, London.  Address: Unit 1, Canada Water Retail Park, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU, until April 17th 2022.


Sarah T.C. Bookless

Christian Artist


This picture is reproduced by kind permission of Sarah. 

Greetings cards and prints are available of all of Sarah’s paintings. If you are interested in ordering any of them please use the contact form on http://www.riverbanktreegallery.co.uk