Saturday, March 15, 2014

Caiaphas Speaks Truth: It is Better for One Man to Die Than a Whole Nation Perish

Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Annas whom the Romans had removed from the high priesthood in A.D. 15. Caiaphas served as the High Priest of Israel from about 18 – 36 A.D.

At some time after the Feast of Dedication, which is now known as Hanukkah (John 10:22) and after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but before the Passover and Jesus' Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Caiaphas spoke prophecy:

"Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, 'You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish,' " (John 11:49-50).

There are at least two meanings of the word prophecy:

  • to predict the future
  • to speak forth God's truth

Caiaphas was doing both, though I doubt he knew it at the time.

Caiaphas was instrumental in orchestrating the events that led to the arrest, trials, and crucifixion of Jesus. This was absolutely morally wrong to the highest degree.

As the High Priest, Caiaphas was supposed to lead the people in knowing God. As the High Priest, Caiaphas should have known God's power and therefore should have been more fearful of God than of the Romans. As High Priest, Caiaphas should have known all the prophecies (which we are studying right now) of the One God would send: the Messiah.

Caiaphas should have recognized Jesus as Messiah. And Caiaphas should have led the people in recognizing him. (Tweet that!)

If Caiaphas had looked at God's Word, if he had studied, if he had wanted to know, if he had sought God and asked for wisdom, Caiaphas could have known he was face to face with God.

But Caiaphas did none of those things. Instead he worked to crucify Jesus—who was the King of Israel, the LORD of Glory!

Ironically Caiaphas was right: it was better for us that one Man die for the people, all of us, to pay the death penalty for our sins and to make us right with God, than for all of us, the people, to die and be separated from God for all eternity. (Tweet that!)

"Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people" (John 18:12-14).

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