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Trudeau, Obama and Jesus
These men may have more in common than you think.

Wow, what a title! What in the world do those three have in common?

…they all probably evoke a fairly strong emotional reaction…

First off, they all probably evoke a fairly strong emotional reaction from most people. Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, Christians and atheists would react quite differently to the images conjured up by these names. But more important, I believe there is another similarity. Let me explain...


In the CBC contest, “Who’s The Greatest Canadian?” this man didn’t win (Tommy Douglas did), but he ranked very high. Trudeau appeared on the Canadian national political scene in the late ‘60s. When he ran for the Liberal leadership and then for Prime Minister, a phenomenon dubbed “Trudeaumania” erupted. His strength was his intellect; his weakness was his arrogance. But, love him or loathe him, why was Trudeau so successful becoming Canada’s longest-serving Prime Minister after Mackenzie King?

One reason, I think, was that he embodied Canada’s two founding nations. He was French Canadian as his first name “Pierre” and his last name “Trudeau” makes obvious. But his mother was Scottish which accounted for his second name “Elliott”. He spoke both official languages flawlessly and so both English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians could relate to him in some basic way.


This man catapulted to national attention in the U.S. after his speech at the Democratic Convention when Al Gore was their presidential hopeful. He took on the Clintons and won his party’s nomination and then he took on the Republicans and carried by the “winds of change” won the White House. On January 20th, he became the first Afro-American President. But how did a relatively unknown Senator from Chicago rise so dramatically?

One reason, I think, is that he embodies America’s two founding races. His Kenyan-born father is black which is certainly reflected in his non-Caucasian name, Barack Hussein Obama. But his American-born mother is white and he was raised for many years by his white grandparents. He’s well-educated, articulate, and succeeded in connecting to whites, blacks and other ethnic groups who could relate to him in some basic way.


And then there’s this man. Undoubtedly, the most influential person who walked the planet. Without a political party or an army, not an author or a world traveler, Jesus somehow impacted this world through his words and deeds during his brief 33 year lifespan. Even human history is divided by the year of his birth into BC and AD. How did he do it?

The main reason, I believe, is because he uniquely embodied in his person both divinity and humanity. He was the “God-man”. As a human, he got hungry and thirsty, tired and tempted. He had human emotions like joy and grief, and he suffered real pain when nailed to a cross. But as God, he could live a sinless life, do miracles no one else could do, and finally pay the full price of mankind’s sin when nailed to a cross.

Many people put their hope in Trudeau in the last century. Many are putting their hope in Obama in this century. I’m putting my hope in Jesus, the world’s true Savior, for all eternity. I hope you are too.

Rob Weatherby serves as pastor at the Bethel Baptist Church family in the Greater City of Sudbury and chairs the annual EFC-coordinated “Celebration” event in Sudbury.

Originally published in the Sudbury Star, January 10, 2009.




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