Who is the most famous Jewish person ever to live? Today it might be Benjamin Netanyahu, who is celebrated and reviled in Israel and all over the world. Albert Einstein has been called the father of the atomic bomb which changed history. Anne Frank, who died as a teenager, has lived in the minds of millions through her graphic diary of living through Holocaust. Steven Spielberg has won three Academy Awards and has been revolutionary to the film industry.
But if you search the Internet for the most influential Jews in history, there always seems to be one missing. Without a doubt, He is more famous than all the others. I am speaking, of course, of Yeshua the Messiah. Is there any Jewish person more famous than Jesus?
The Beatles were not Jewish, but John Lennon once famously said that The Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ.
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I need not argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. —John Lennon
That was said in 1966. Interestingly enough, it was in 1967 that Jerusalem was recaptured and a movement began (called the Jesus revolution) among hippies, where tens of thousands of young Americans turned to Jesus. Among them, were thousands of Jewish people, who eventually became the leadership of the modern messianic movement.
So, while The Beatles were absolutely popular, John Lennon’s assessment was nearsighted. Lennon’s memory will fade, while Yeshua’s story continues to be spread throughout the world.
There is no more famous Jew than Jesus. Maybe the reason He is left off all of these lists is because people no longer think of Him as Jewish. I’ve long maintained that He was the first victim of identity theft!
Some say He became a Christian. Of course, there was no such thing as Christianity until long after His death. Yeshua was a Jew who lived in the Galilee. He kept Shabbat and observed the Torah. He attended synagogue and publicly read from the scriptures. He spent his entire adult life in the land of Israel with the Jewish people.
The question is this: how is it that the most famous Jewish man ever to live is followed mostly by Gentiles? In fact, this is one of the reasons Jewish rabbis often give to prove that He is not the Messiah. If He were the Messiah, then Jews, not Gentiles, would follow Him. However, that is not correct according to messianic prophecy.
It is interesting that one of the ways, according to the Hebrew Bible, that we would know that a certain person is the Messiah is that Gentiles would follow him and Jews would reject him, before finally receiving him, en masse, in the end of days.
Isaiah speaks of the Jewish rejection of Yeshua in chapter 53:
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:3)
In chapter six, God sends Isaiah to Israel saying:
“Go and tell this people:
“’Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
bever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
Make their ears dull and close their eyes.’”
Regarding the Gentiles, God says in Isaiah 49:6:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
When God calls Abraham in Genesis 12, he says that Abraham, through his offspring, would be a blessing to all the nations.
“In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the gentiles; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10)
So it is clear from Scripture that the Gentiles, or the nations, will embrace the Messiah. The fact that millions of Gentiles follow the Jewish Messiah is proof that He is the Messiah, not the opposite. However, the prophets also predicted that the Jewish people would embrace Yeshua in the end times.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son… On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” (Zechariah 12:10, 13:1)
“For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)
It says that they will return to the Lord their God and David their King, a clear reference to the Messiah, as David has long been dead. You can’t return to someone who’s coming for the first time. If the Messiah showed up today in Israel, no one would say, “we are returning to Him.” That is unless He was here once before. Now there’s something to think about.