1) Jesus of Nazareth
He possessed no wealth. No armies. No political power. The adopted son of a carpenter, he hailed from an insignificant town in an insignificant province. And yet, he would become the greatest of all men. Jesus of Nazareth was unparalleled. He understood the human psyche on a level that bordered on the teleological and was able to articulate a message from God that still rings triumphant throughout the ages of man.
The followers of Jesus are immense in number. Currently, there are more than 2.2 billion people in the world who claim him as lord and master. Nearly 1/3rd of all hospitals and clinics on earth are run by members of his following. A large majority of the elite universities around the world were founded by his followers for the purposes of communicating the Gospel message more clearly and intentionally. The leaders of the nations pay homage to him (at least in lip service), because they acknowledge his influence and rapport with the people of this world. It might be interesting to note that essentially every man on this list living subsequently to his time on earth would willingly bow the knee to him.
Jesus has impacted human history as no one before him has been able to do. His life (a paltry 33 years), echoes throughout the ages with a message of love, purpose, forgiveness, redemption, and a hope for the future. Men have not always translated this correctly and have sometimes used the immensity and power of his name maliciously in ways the Nazarene would never have condoned — a tragic occurrence to be sure — but the positive power of Jesus‘ true message, observed in the life he lived, has changed the world immeasurably for the good of all men.
“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth…” – The Apostle Paul (speaking about Jesus of Nazareth)