The beginning of the 20th century saw many new British passenger liners entering service. Each one seemed to be larger, faster and more luxurious than the one that had gone before, until there was the biggest and grandest of all the ships, the Titanic! Weighing 48,000 tons and with a length of 882 feet, this new ship was the pride of the seas. With its twelve watertight compartments, they claimed it to be “practically unsinkable”.
The rich and famous soon booked their places in the lavish and expensive cabins. Thousands of people came to Southampton on Wednesday April 10, 1912 to see Titanic embark on its maiden voyage to New York. Little did those people know that this was to be its first and last voyage.
Within five days the majority of people on board that ship were in eternity!
For Those in Peril on the Sea
On Sunday night April 12, 1912 a hymn singing evening was arranged. About a hundred passengers gathered in the second class dining saloon for the occasion. One of the many hymns sung that night was William Whiting’s famous seafaring hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, containing the words, “Oh hear us when we cry to Thee, for those in peril on the sea.” Those enjoying this evening of singing did not know that within two hours they would all be enduring an unprecedented great peril in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
As you sail across life’s ocean, have you prepared for the one certainty in life – death? Have you ever stopped to think of the awful danger your soul is in if you are not right with God? The Lord Jesus Christ said, “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Iceberg Dead Ahead!
Most people on board the great liner were retiring for bed at 11:40 p.m. when Fredrick Fleet, a sailor in the crow’s nest of the forward mast, sighted a dark mass in the water ahead of the ship. Picking up the telephone connecting him to the bridge he called out, “Iceberg dead ahead”. First Officer, William Murdock, immediately ordered the helmsmen to steer, “Hard a starboard”. Travelling at 23 knots (26.5 mph) the ship seemed reluctant to respond but finally her bows started to slowly move to the left. It seemed that she would miss the iceberg. However, as Titanic tried to skirt around the ice a light vibration shuddered through the ship, alerting those on the bridge that their efforts had tragically been unsuccessful.
Are you trying to steer your own way to Heaven using your good works and efforts? The Bible says, “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
To the Rescue!
At 12:15 a.m. Harold Cottam, the wireless operator of the steamship Carpathia, picked up Titanic’s distress call. He immediately woke his captain, Arthur Rostron. Rostron made every effort to cover the 58 perilous miles to the floundering ship as quickly as possible. Carpathia was pushed to the limit as Rostron wove a treacherous course through hazardous pack ice and icebergs! During the nearly four hours it took to reach Titanic’s position, Captain Rostron ordered his crew to prepare for the reception of survivors.
The next morning when all the survivors of the disaster had been safely rescued, Rostron looked around the barren expanse of sea. As he gazed at the dangerous pack ice he exclaimed, “Someone’s hand other than my own was on the helm of my ship last night!”
The Bible states, “the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14). The Lord Jesus did not come out of a request for help from a ruined sinking world. He came in great love, “to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). By dying on the cross at Calvary the Lord Jesus paid in full the price that a righteous God demanded for our sins. Just as Captain Rostron issued orders to get his crew ready to receive survivors, we need to obey God’s command to be ready for Heaven. The Bible says God, “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Have you repented (turned away) from your sin and trusted Christ as your Saviour? As you remember the tragic loss of Titanic may your soul be averted from eternal disaster. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
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