Caiaphas (the Searcher) was appointed Judea’s High Priest by the Roman procurator Valerius Gratus in 18 AD. He held the position until 37 AD when he was deposed.
“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Iturea... while Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests'' (Luke 3:2).
The diarchy ruling system consisted of government by two independent authorities, in this case the Jewish high priests and Rome.
The reason for this division of power can be probably be explained by the strong influence and power that Annas still exercised through his son-in-law Caiaphas. Later, Annas succeeded in appointing all his five of sons to the office.
Caiaphas is known in history because of his involvement in the trial of Jesus. At the hearing of the Sanhedrin Jewish counsel, he accused Jesus in blasphemy and the counsel condemned him to death. Before taking this decision, Caiaphas had sent Jesus to his father-in-law.
''And they led him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the high priest that year'' (John 13:18).
Surprisingly Caiaphas was recorded at the counsel when he said:
''You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not the whole nation should perish'' (John 11:49-50).
The Sanhedrin accepted Caiaphas’ proposal.
This high priest is also mentioned in the book of Acts as a persecutor of the disciples of Jesus.
''And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and the scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and as many of the family of the high priest were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them (the disciples) in the midst, they asked: 'By what power or by what name have you done this?'" (Acts 4:7).
According to Gospel account, the trial of Jesus by Sanhedrin took place at Caiaphas' house.
''Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the place of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him'' (Matthew 26:3).
( to be continued...)