Caiaphas was the high priest during the time of Jesus and was a member of the Sadducees (Luke 3:2). He was appointed High Priest of the Jews by the Roman procurator Valerius Gratus in about A.D. 18, according to Josephus, a first century Jewish historian (Ant., XVIII, ii, 2). Gratus was the predecessor of Pontius Pilate.
He called for Jesus' death, when he and other community leaders became alarmed at the rising popularity of Jesus. After Jesus was arrested, he was taken to Annas, also a high priest, who was also the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Annas questioned Jesus and then sent Him to Caiaphas. After the trial before Caiaphas, Jesus was sent to Pilate, the Roman governor (John 18:12-28).
Caiaphas was afraid that Jesus' popularity would entice a large number of people to gather and to possibly stage an uprising for independence. Such an event would be dealt with severely and harshly by the Romans. Caiaphas expressed this concern when he said that it would better for one man to die than for a whole nation to suffer (John 11:43-50). This was soon after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.
Caiaphas was also present at the trial of the Apostles John and Peter. He was one of the leaders who questioned the two men about the miraculous healing of a lame man at one of the gates of the Temple (Acts 4:6-7).
In 1990, excavators found an ornate ossuary with the name of Caiaphas on it. It was found near Jerusalem and contained the bones of a man who lived to be about 60 years old. Some believe that the bones might be those of the man named Caiaphas in the New Testament.
Caiaphas is mentioned in the New Testament books of Matthew, chapter 26; Luke 3:2; John 11:49; John, chapter 18; and Acts 4:6. Click here for an online Bible showing the verses that mention Caiaphas: BibleGateway.com - Caiaphas
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