Jesus before Caiaphas

It began when Jesus started to heal the sick on the Sabbath day. God’s law said that on the Sabbath, God’s people were not to do any work. Healing someone looked like work to the religious leaders. Time after time in his ministry, Jesus challenged the teaching of the Jewish leaders. Word eventually got back to the high priest, Caiaphas, and from very early on, he began to look for a way to arrest Jesus and have him put to death.

The problem was, they couldn’t find anything wrong with what Jesus did. He was perfect in every way. But that didn’t stop them from trying. Now when they finally had Jesus on trial, they brought people in to testify against him. But their stories did not match up. They tried to use Jesus’ words against him. When Jesus taught about destroying a temple and rebuilding it in three days, he wasn’t talking about the temple in Jerusalem. He was talking about the temple of his body. Three days after he died, he would be raised to life. The temple would be rebuilt.

As witness after witness failed to give proof that Jesus had done anything wrong, Caiaphas took matters into his own hands. He said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” (v. 60). Jesus still remained silent. He wouldn’t say a word to the lies brought before the court. So Caiaphas put Jesus under oath and asked, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” (v. 61).

Jesus knew the will of his Father. He knew the events that would follow after he told the truth. Now was the time for his suffering and death. It came at the hands of Caiaphas, these hands of hypocrisy. Jesus answered Caiaphas, “I am.” He testified to the truth. He is the Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior.

reacted by tearing his robes and accusing Jesus of blasphemy. Blasphemy means Jesus misused God’s name. He dishonored God by saying he was God. Caiaphas and the Jewish leaders condemned Jesus to die for claiming he was the Savior and the Son of God. How could Caiaphas and the Jewish leaders have such hate for Jesus? What had Jesus done besides point people to the truth and promise

eternal life?

Caiaphas stood for a way of life. He believed God rewarded people for being good. He believed the high priest ranked very high in doing enough good to get into heaven on his own. But Jesus called out his sin and hypocrisy. He may have looked good on the outside, but Caiaphas was still sinful on the inside. Caiaphas would lead God’s people by bringing the sacrifices to the altar of God at the temple. He would enter into the Most Holy Place once a year to make atonement and proclaim forgiveness for God’s people.

He was looked up to as the Mediator, who went between God and God’s people. But all of these honorable actions on the outside were hypocrisy. The heart of Caiaphas was dead and sinful. He did not see his sins and so he saw no need for a Savior.

God’s Word calls us to repent of our hypocrisy too. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive

ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). We are deceived when we compare our lives to others. We think, there’s always someone less deserving of heaven than we are. We are quick to identify the sins of others, but slow to repent of our own sins. We wonder why others can’t stop committing the same sins, but we don’t see how often we fall for the same temptations again and again. Sadly, we are not all that different from Caiaphas and his hypocrisy. People are right when they say the church is full of hypocrites, aren’t they? We care more about how we look on the outside and we fail to be honest and repent of the sins no one sees. We may be able to fool others with our hypocrisy, but we can’t fool God. Our hypocrisy is deserving of death.

2 God promises that when we confess our sins, he is faithful to his promise of forgiveness. He will cleanse us from all imperfection and impurity. Jesus was willing to be condemned to death and wrongly convicted of blasphemy so that we could be forgiven. He went to the cross where our sins of hypocrisy were crucified with him. His righteousness is now ours. It doesn’t matter how good or bad we look to others.

What matters is how good God makes us look through Jesus. We are perfect in God’s eyes.

Our sins of hypocrisy have been removed by Jesus. No matter how good we think we are, it’s not good enough to earn a place in heaven. Instead, God has opened the way to heaven through Jesus. He was perfect in every way and he credits that perfection to you and me. God removes our doubts by Jesus’ perfect life. Jesus saw right through Caiaphas, who was a better hypocrite than high priest. Jesus testified to the truth. He is the Savior, the Son of God. He was willing to be condemned for our hypocrisy and sins. Repent and receive the forgiveness Jesus brought through his death on the cross. By his outstretched and wounded

hands, we are healed. We don’t need to look good for others. God has made us perfect in his eyes through

Jesus. Amen.

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