Joseph Caiaphas. Son-in-law of Annas. High Priest “appointed” by the Roman prefect, Valerius Gratus, in 18 A.D. and served until 36 A.D.. The High Priest was the chief religious official and was suppose to be from the line of Aaron, the first High Priest. The high priest was the presiding officer of the Sanhedrin, a political group of men from every city in the land of Israel numbering from 23-71 men. The high priest “was required to be mindful of his honor and follow prescribed etiquette.” The high priest was required to be married and according to Matthew 26:3 it was a position of wealth for he lived in a palace. All this was during the time of the Roman empire and this High Priest is not even close to following the directions set out by Moses for the function of the High Priest serving in the Tabernacle. During Roman times the church and state had a marriage of convenience.
This group of men entrusted with leadership for the Jews are “displeased with Jesus.” (Matthew 21:15) This all began when crowds began to follow Jesus because he was healing them and offering hope to a nation with little hope. Could the Messiah actually have come? These religious leaders (Pharisees) began attempting to trick Jesus with “loaded questions.” (Matthew 19:1-3) When the people began to hail Him as King, well then “it was ON” as the saying goes. They set out to “entangle Him in His talk.” (Matthew 22:15) Jesus, however, was the Master Rabbi and He knew their hearts were full of wickedness. So He asked them a question so deep they could not answer and they stopped asking Him questions at all. (Matthew 22:41-46)
Caiaphas led the Sanhedrin in coming up with the plan to take Jesus and have him killed. They felt “out of sight would be out of mind” and all the hoo ha would subside. How thrilled he must have been when Judas Iscariot showed up with a scheme to “deliver Him to them.” It was all too perfect! Once Jesus was in custody, Caiaphas led the interrogation snarling like a mad pack dog. Rationale was not even in the room for “false witnesses” could not even come up with a reasonable excuse to execute Jesus. (Mark 14:55-56)
The scene in this room among religious leaders is nauseating. They slap Jesus. They spit in Jesus face. They pummel Him with their self righteous fists. They covered His face. Where is the compassion? Where is the leadership? (Mark 14:64-65, Luke 22:63-64)
Tradition says Caiaphas put up the money paid to Judas. We know Caiaphas knew the price of a slave, for he sent his slave with Judas to ensure Judas did what he said he would do; Looking after the investment this High Priest has made. Caiaphas did not “leave the comforts of his own home” to do the dirty work. He sent his slave and his slave saw The Master.
Caiaphas on the brink of the Passover, responsible for offering the sacrifice, was used by God to offer the perfect Lamb of God for the sins of the world. Even evil is controlled by the Almighty God of the universe. Every prophecy fulfilled by people clueless they are being used by the MOST HIGH GOD. All things really do work together for good to those who LOVE the Lord and are CALLED according to HIs purposes. (Romans 8:28) Jesus set all this up before the foundation of the world. (I Peter 1:20) Jesus orchestrated His own crucifixion.
Did Caiaphas ever recognize the error of his ways? It seems he may have. Acts 4 relates how the position of the religious leaders had “softened” as evidenced by their “threatening” Peter and John not to “speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus,” then letting them go.
We are not told the end of Caiaphas story. It is apparent that this High Priest was not understanding of the Scriptures. If he had been and had he been more interested in “the flock” he was serving the story would have been far different. This is why Jesus told his followers to beware of wolves in sheeps’ clothing. (Matthew 7:15) Caiaphas was not a prophet, but he was entrusted with the highest position in Israel. His actions belied his words. However, God used Caiaphas to lead the Lamb of God to the slaughter where the sins of the world were laid on Him and it is now accounted to us as righteousness. (Isaiah 53:7, I Peter 2:24, Romans 4:24)