The Captain of the Pride (KJV)
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- Full Text: Read full text below
- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 4
- Version: KJV
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“The storm came quickly, racing with a white veil of water across a suddenly angry sea and tumbling the Pride of Baltimore onto its side. The ship’s demise was nearly as swift, taking barely a minute, and ending with a silent plunge of about a mile to the ocean floor” (Baltimore Evening Sun, May 20, 1986). The Pride was a “tall ship,” a replica of a Baltimore Clipper ship built in conjunction with the celebration of America’s Bicentennial.
Eight crew members of the Pride were saved after floating in a life raft for four and a half days. Four others were drowned or missing; among these was the Pride’s captain, Armin Elsaesser. The Evening Sun reports that Captain Elsaesser “had ordered his crew on deck perhaps saving some of their lives. He had dived below the water [to free] the [life] rafts. And, when last seen … he had been swimming back toward his ship.”
The bravery and self-sacrifice of Captain Elsaesser brings to mind our “Captain of Salvation,” the Lord Jesus Christ. And the predicament of the crew of the capsized Pride, floundering and about to perish in a stormy sea, may remind us of our own situation. Life is often a sea of:
Confusion—What is right? What is truth?
Anxiety—When will the economy crumble? Where will terrorists or crazed gunmen strike next? Can a nuclear disaster occur in our country?
Alienation—Fired from job, divorced from spouse, rejected by children.
Unhappiness—Alcohol, drugs, money, extramarital affairs, and entertainment don’t seem to help.
Sin—Failure to obey God’s law and to do His will.
The Bible describes us as “dead in trespasses and sins … fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind … tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 2:1,3; 4:14). We are perishing! Because of our sins and alienation from God, all we have to look forward to is an eternity in “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15), in “outer darkness” where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22: 13).
That is the dark side of God’s message for mankind, stated so clearly in the Scriptures.
But, praise God, there is a bright side as well! “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus Christ is God’s only Son, and if we believe in Him we will have everlasting life. Jesus went into “deep waters, where the floods overflowed [Him]” (Psalm 69:1). We deserve to be punished for our sins and our rebellion against God. Yet, in God’s gracious plan, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die as our substitute and pay the penalty for our sins. The Bible describes it this way: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
It would have been the height of folly for the crew of the Pride, swimming about in the stormy waters of the Atlantic, to spurn the safety of the lifeboat, to say, “I’m going to try to swim to safety.” And yet that is the way that millions of otherwise intelligent people are responding to the gospel of God’s free gift of salvation today. Many are headed for an eternity of blackness primarily because of human pride. “I can take care of myself. I’ll make my own way to heaven.” Or, “I’m basically a good person. I’ve never harmed anyone. If there is a God and if there is life after death, I will fare okay.” But listen to God’s Word: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).
The eight survivors of the Pride tragedy owe their lives to Captain Elsaesser and to the mercy of God. They committed themselves to the safety of the life raft secured for them. Do not perish because of your sins, but commit yourself to the safety of the eternal life “raft” that God has prepared for you. Jesus says: “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
Receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord today, and join the millions of other believers who have passed out of death into life, and out of confusion, anxiety, alienation, unhappiness, and sin into peace, security, fulfillment, satisfaction, and righteousness, both in this life and for all eternity. —Paul L. Canner