“And one of them, [named] Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”
A remarkable discovery in Israel is shedding new light on life on Bible times. The discovery is also allowing scientists and the rest of us to get to know an important New Testament character.
Israeli archaeologists believe they may have discovered the bones of the high priest Caiaphas. If these bones do indeed belong to Caiaphas, it would be the first discovery of the remains of any major figure mentioned in the New Testament. The discovery was made accidentally in 1990 as workers were widening the road through the Peace Forest.
Researchers didn’t want to release their announcement until they had satisfied themselves that such a momentous announcement was justified. The burial cave has three mentions of the name “Caiaphas.” An ossuary, or bone box, within the cave was inscribed, “Joseph, son of Caiaphas.” Other records identify the “Caiaphas” who condemned Jesus as Joseph, son of Caiaphas. A coin found in the cave was minted between 37 and 44 A.D. The ossuary contained the bones of six people. There were two infants, a child, a youth, an adult female and a male about 60 years old, believed to have been Caiaphas himself.
It was from political expediency that Caiaphas said it would be better for one man to die for the people than for the entire nation to perish. He was unknowingly prophetic. Jesus Christ did die to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin.
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You that You gave up heaven and endured the suffering of the cross so that my sins could be forgiven. Help me to always treasure what You have done for me and show my thanks to You in the life that I live. Amen.
Greenhut, Zvi. 1992. “Burial cave of the Caiaphas family.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept./Oct. p. 29. Image: Christ Before Caiaphas by Matthias Stom (PD)