During the first episode of the NBC mini-series “AD The Bible Continues” there were three main characters. The first was the Roman procurator known as Pontius Pilate. The second was the Jewish High Priest called Caiaphas.
Caiaphas was the son-in-law of the former High Priest named Annas. Some say that he and his father-in-law controlled much of the merchandising that went on near the Temple. (see John 2) If that is so, his hatred of Jesus might have been fueled more from his pocketbook than from his heart.
Caiaphas’ animosity towards Jesus seemed to come to a head with the raising of Lazarus. John 11:45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? For this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. Caiaphas unknowingly prophesied that Jesus would die for the sins of the world.
Whereas Pilate represents the individual that is searching for the truth, Caiaphas represents the individual that is blinded to the truth. Jesus said that men like Caiaphas were ‘blind leaders of the blind.’ (Mt 15:14) What had so blinded a religious man like Caiaphas? Greed, pride and self-righteousness is what kept him and many of the other religious leaders from seeing who Jesus was and what He had come to do.
In contrast to the spiritual blindness of Caiaphas is the spiritual hunger of other religious leaders such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Scripture says that Joseph actually became a ‘disciple of Jesus’ (see John 19:38) and there is good reason to believe that Nicodemus did as well. (see John 19:39)
What can we learn from a man like Caiaphas?
- Religion alone will not save us
- We can be “sincerely” wrong
- We must humble ourselves before God before we can see God
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.