Archive for March 9th, 2020

Monday, March 9, 2020

Matthew 26:1-5: Caiaphas

Matthias Stom: Christ Before Caiaphas

Matthias Stom: Christ Before Caiaphas

We find ourselves edging closer to Palm Sunday and Easter, and today we anticipate the Passion readings.  Familiar events and names sound in our ears as we listen at church services; well-read verses lose their newness until we pause to spend time with a few key figures.  Today we study Caiaphas, the high priest.

Today’s Noontime scripture citation unfolds much more to us if we also visit the Famous Trials site by Douglas O. Linder at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.  Specifically we will want to examine the material we find about the Key Figures  at Jesus’ trial but you may also find time to wander through the site’s many pages of information.  They are eye-opening and prayer-expanding.  They give us a better foundation on which to stand, a deeper perspective from which to pray. We might just focus on a few details we know about the man Caiaphas.  Some of this we already know: high priest, liaison between the Roman authorities and the Jewish people, son-in-law of the high priest Annas, presider over Temple ceremonies, Roman prefect for ten years with Pontius Pilate,

There is more that we will want to know: controller of the Temple treasury, manager of the Temple police, dismissed from service in 36. C.E. by the Syrian governor Vitellius . . . quite likely due to his close work with Pontius Pilate.

As we study, reflect and pray, the person Caiaphas begins to come into sharper focus.  This powerful man likely saw himself as the controller of his own universe. We might wonder if he saw any of his actions as placating the power structure or if he believed himself free of petty influence.  This we cannot know but what we can discern as we wander through this information is that Caiaphas played an important role in the life, death and resurrection of the Christ. Without Caiaphas it is likely that another high priest would have stepped into place to see Jesus handed over to Roman authorities – the Galilean asked too many questions of too many people – but it is Caiaphas we have with us today.  So let us learn more about him, let us imagine what our opinion of him might have been if he were our own high priest, and let us ask God for the wisdom to discern the presence of Caiaphas priests among us today.

For interesting information on Jesus’ trial, go to the following page on the University of Missouri Law School’s famous trials site by Douglas O. Linder: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/jesus.html; and for Key Figures at Jesus’ Trial: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/jesuskeyfigures.html; and for Non-Christian accounts of Jesus’ trial that give us a fresh perspective: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/nonchristianaccounts.html; and visit the Britannica page that is accessed from this site at: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/303091/Jesus-Christ

For more on the Syrian Governor Vitellius, go to: http://www.livius.org/vi-vr/vitellius/lucius.html

For more on the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, go to http://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/stewart.cfm?id=1314

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caiaphas

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