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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary


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As Jewish high priest in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, Caiaphas is chiefly remembered for his part in the crucifixion of Jesus. He was son-in-law of the former high priest Annas (John 18:13), he became high priest before Jesus began his ministry (Luke 3:2), and he was still high priest in the days of the early church (Acts 4:6).

During the time of Jesus, the members of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish Council) became increasingly hostile to him as they saw his fame growing. They feared that, if the Jews accepted Jesus as their Messiah and rebelled against Rome, the Romans would respond by crushing the Jews (John 11:47-48). Caiaphas, as leader of the Sanhedrin, suggested they get rid of Jesus. In his view, one man’s death would save the nation. The words of Caiaphas had a prophetic meaning that he did not realize; for Jesus’ death would indeed be a means of salvation, not just for Jewish people, but for people of all nations (John 11:49-52).

Acting upon the advice of Caiaphas, the Jews plotted to arrest Jesus (John 11:53; Matthew 26:3-5). In the middle of the night, only a few hours before the dawn of Passover day, they captured him and took him to the house where Annas and Caiaphas lived. He was questioned first by Annas (John 18:12-14) and then by the Sanhedrin, whom Caiaphas had assembled in his house (Matthew 26:57-58).

In reply to a question from Caiaphas, Jesus said that he truly was the Messiah from heaven and he was about to receive his eternal kingdom. Caiaphas promptly accused him of blasphemy. Although the meeting’s conduct and verdict were illegal according to Jewish law, the Sanhedrin had no hesitation in condemning Jesus to death (Matthew 26:59-66; Mark 14:61-64; see SANHEDRIN).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Caiaphas'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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