What are these so-called similarities between Simon or Judah and Christ? Did someone list them? We need to see a list. I cannot respond to this claim unless you can give me some of the supposed parallels. However I strongly suspect that the “similarities” are very minor. Was Simon born in Bethlehem? (Micah 5:2) Was Judah crucified? (Psalm 22:16). Was Simon silent when accused? (Isaiah 53:7). Was Judah betrayed for thirty pieces of silver? (Zechariah 11:13) Did Simon ride into Jerusalem on a donkey? (Zechariah 9:9) I am sure the answer is no in both cases.
Sure, it is true that there have been others who claimed to be the Messiah, but none of them fulfilled these and many more messianic prophecies. Really, this claim that the story of Jesus was borrowed from these other messiah claimants is absurd. The story of Jesus is borrowed from the actual life of the actual person Jesus. We know where Jesus was born (fulfilling prophecy). We know where he was raised (also fulfilling prophecy in Isaiah 9:1). We know the name of his mother and his adoptive father. We know the names of three of his brothers and dozens of his friends, how and where and when he died (all fulfilling prophecies) and many more facts about Jesus, a few (admittedly only a few) of which are also confirmed by non-Christian historians such as Tacitus and Josephus. Which of these were borrowed from this obscure person Simon? I am prepared to assume that this Simon was a real person, and that people who knew of him mentioned him. People who actually knew Jesus personally wrote about him. Did Matthew make up a story about his friend from the life of another person? Really, this proposal is utterly absurd! The historical fact is that thousands of people who personally witnessed Jesus became Christians in the first century. Did they believe in a manufactured person? Really? This is nonsense.
I have seen some of the National Geographic material. It is junk scholarship. It is nonsense, and ought to be thrown into the trash bin, in my opinion.
As for the Gabriel Stone/Jesselton Stone, this is a very interesting artifact. What is does prove is that there was a messianic expectation in the Jewish people around the time of Christ. This is not surprising, since the Old Testament is filled with prophecies about the Messiah! However, there is no significant parallel between this interesting “prophecy” in the Gabriel Stone and the life of Jesus and, besides, like I said, Jesus was a real person who really did ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, who really was crucified, who really was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver and more. Therefore, the Gabriel Stone is a fun and interesting artifact, but it does absolutely zero to undermine the reality of who Jesus was and the fact that he fulfilled all the messianic prophecies, including being raised form the dead! Jews and others who mention the Gabriel Stone or Simon or Judah are really just putting up a smoke screen in the hopes of confusing people about the person Jesus of Nazareth.