Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm the King of the World!

This Sunday will be April 15. When most Americans think of that date, we associate it with tax deadlines, but many this year will be thinking about the RMS Titanic, which sank 100 years ago on April 15, 1912.

When the movie, Titanic, came out back in 1997, I remember people joking that there was no reason to see it since we all knew the boat would sink in the end. Now, because of the 100th anniversary, the film is back in theaters, and I asked Amber last week, "Why would anyone go to see it in theaters again? The boat's still gonna sink! And we've already seen it sink!"

But all joking aside, I admit Titanic is a great film, and if you haven't seen it lately, it's worth the 3 1/2 hours to check out your local theater or - if you're like me - dust off the DVD and give it another look.

RMS Titanic
RMS Titanic © 1997 Paramount Pictures

Of course, as you'll recall, the Titanic was supposed to be "the unsinkable ship". In the film, several characters share this opinion. Mr. Ismay (chairman of the company that built the Titanic) is seen early on talking about how grand the ship is, even pressuring the captain to push it to full speed in order to make headlines when it arrives early at its destination. Mr. Ismay assumes - as perhaps others did - that anything large enough to sink the ship will be seen early enough to be avoided. Likewise, the ship's builder, Mr. Andrews, is depicted showing full confidence that his creation is unsinkable. When Rose points out early on that there are not enough lifeboats to accommodate all the passengers, Mr. Andrews comforts her saying, "Sleep soundly, young Rose, for I have built you a good ship, strong and true. She's all the lifeboats you need." And perhaps Rose's fiancee, Cal Hockley, sums up the popular sentiment best when he goes so far as to say, "God himself could not sink this ship."

But the ship did sink. I'm reminded of the story in Genesis 11:1-9, where the people proudly attempted to build a tower to Heaven, and God thwarted their plan by confusing and scattering them. I'm reminded also of the story in Acts 12:20-23, where King Herod was eaten by worms after people worshiped him as a god and he refused to glorify the Lord. Throughout the Scriptures, we are taught that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6) We see that there is truth to the old saying, "Pride comes before a fall."

The big story, though - the reason most people watch the movie - is not just to see the giant boat sink. People watch because of the love story. Like Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) are star-crossed lovers whose time together is brief but powerful.

DiCaprio and Winslet in Titanic
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic © 1997 Paramount Pictures

Though they come from different backgrounds and they only have a few days together, Jack and Rose are a good example of sacrificial love. When he sees Rose contemplating suicide, Jack comes to the rescue, talking her down and telling her, "You jump, I jump." Later, Rose cannot leave on a lifeboat without saving Jack from certain death in his jail cell within the ship. Again, Jack does everything he can to get Rose on another lifeboat, though he knows he is doomed, but Rose comes back with that line, "You jump, I jump, right?" And Jack insists that Rose lay on the floating door as they wait for a boat to come save them, even though it costs him his life. In these scenes, I am reminded of the example of Jesus, who sacrificed himself to save us and told his disciples:

"Greater love has no one than this, 
that he lay down his life for his friends."
- John 15:13 NIV

 This sacrifice puts Jack among the 1,514 passengers who died when the Titanic sank. And the film raises a good question for us to consider: How would you act if you knew your death was coming soon? 

Would you, like so many aboard the Titanic, give in to panic, chaos, and fear? Would you fight and scrape for every last breath you could get? Would you rather kill yourself like one of the officers on the ship than allow things to run their course? Or would you, as others did, accept the inevitable and choose instead to focus on the things that are important to you? The movie shows the example of an elderly couple calmly holding each other in bed as the waters flood their room, and a mother tucking her children into bed like nothing was wrong though she knew what was about to happen. Perhaps you would cling to your family and loved ones in your last moments, or perhaps you would cling to your faith. The film depicts a few characters quoting Scripture to comfort themselves, and the musicians playing the hymn, "Nearer, My God, to Thee" as the ship goes down. Maybe, like Jack, you would sacrifice yourself to save others. A similar scene shows a father sending his wife and daughter away, trying to comfort the little girl, though he knows he'll never see her again. Would your last moments be filled with fear, with peace, with love, or - like Mr. Andrews - with sorrow over your mistakes? Mr. Andrews' final scenes show him wandering the ship, staring off in disbelief, lost in remorse.

For those who follow Christ, we should have no reason to fear death because we know this is not the end for us. We have been promised resurrection and life (see John 3:16 and John 11:25). We also have no reason for regrets and sorrow, because even when it's hard to forgive ourselves, those who have a relationship with Christ can have full assurance that our sins are forgiven. We may claim the promise of Psalm 103 that our sins are removed from us "as far as the east is from the west." We may truly rest in peace when our time comes. Those who die without the Lord, however, have a reason for fear and sorrow, for they will face the consequences of their sins (Revelation 20:11-15). Just as the steward on the ship told Cal Hockley near the end of the film, "Your money can't save you any more than it can save me," we shall see that nothing we can do on our own will save us on that final day. Death and judgment come to all of us - the rich and the poor - and you're either ready to meet your Maker, or you're not.

The hard part is that most of us won't have the luxury of time like those upon the Titanic had. None of us knows when our time might come. Who knows when we might be in an accident or have a heart attack or something like that? Lives are too often cut short with little or no warning, so it is important to be prepared now. What we learn from the sinking of the Titanic is that any day may be your last. Take time to pray and make things right with Jesus today - right this minute - so that when your time comes you will be ready, able to face that day not with fear, but with calm assurance, love, and peace.  

Check out these related articles I came across recently:
Did Faith Drive Titanic Musicians?
* As Titanic Sank, He Pleaded, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus!'


  1. Thanks Kyle! You are doing a great job!

    Love you!

  2. Thanks, Dad. Glad you're enjoying it! Love you, too! :-)

  3. Wonderful post, Kyle! Thanks so much for commenting on Saved by Grace and for giving me the link. May we able to use our brief time on earth to lead souls to Him and to love sacrificially.

    Your blog is a blessing and I am now following it, and I invite you to follow Saved by Grace also:

    God bless,
    Laurie Collett


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