The Greatest Showman is a feel-good film with some very catchy tunes, many of which are played on the radio every day. Here is the first part of the story. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil the ending.
Phineas Taylor Barnum had a difficult childhood; he worked with his father Philo who was a tailor. Life was hard and became even harder when his father passed away. Barnum tried stealing but wasn’t any good at it. He sold newspapers and did whatever he could to survive. The love of his life was a young girl called Charity, who was from a rich family. Even though their paths didn’t cross for many years, they kept in touch by letter. When Barnum had made enough money working for the railroad, he took Charity as his bride and lived in a humble flat. They soon had two daughters, and Charity was very happy, but for Barnum it wasn’t enough. He had tremendous drive to succeed, not allowing setbacks to stop him. He had, as the song says, “A million dreams”. Eventually, having obtained a loan in a slightly devious way, he bought an old museum, hoping to get people through its doors. Even though he was enthusiastic at sales, no one bought any tickets. His daughters said, “Dad, there are too many dead things in the museum; you need something that’s alive, something sensational!”
Barnum decided to recruit some unusual people to be a part of a show. Here are a few of the characters:
Charles the dwarf; the Bearded Lady; the Irish Giant; the World’s Heaviest Man; Dog Boy; Tattoo Man and Anne the African American trapeze artist.
All these people had been “outcast” - no one had ever wanted them. Now they had become a family working together, and suddenly everyone wanted to come to the museum/circus. Life was looking up, and for the first time in his life he was making real money.
Jesus, like Barnum, had a difficult start in life. His family was very poor and were refugees struggling to survive. When he began his preaching ministry he became very popular and everyone wanted to see him. He fed the hungry, made sick people well, even brought the dead back to life. He helped those who were sad to be happy, the anxious were given peace of mind, the bad were made good. His band of followers was a ragbag team of people who suddenly were made to feel very important. Everyone loved him, except the Jewish government, who were jealous of his success!
In the end they had him crucified and it looked like the end. But God had other ideas! Jesus was part of God and he gave his life for us, but he couldn’t stay dead. He came back to life with more power and authority than before. Now we can know his love, we can follow him, and he can help us overcome our struggles. He loves to reach out to people with low self esteem and give them real value and purpose.
This Easter, give Jesus a chance in your life.