A friend writes: “Is it possible that Caiaphas the high priest went to Heaven?”
Remember Caiaphas? He was the high priest of the Jews before whom Jesus was brought on the way to the crucifixion. Sorry to say, but there is no evidence in the Bible that would give any expectation of his being in heaven. I don’t like to say that about any person who has died.
But we are bound to the Scriptures. In John 11:51 He (Caiaphas) “prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation. (the Jewish nation).” Even after seeing the miracle of Lazarus restored to life, Caiaphas refused to believe Jesus was the Messiah. He was more firmly resolved than ever to have Christ put to death. He used the excuse that Jesus might cause the Romans to destroy the Jews’ religious system.
So Caiaphas said, “It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people. And that the whole nation perish not” (John 11:50).
But like Balaam of old, forced to prophesy what he did not intend (Numbers 24:10-13), Caiaphas was made to predict the true significance of Christ’s coming death. Instead of His death being “expedient for us” — that is, for Caiaphas and his system, it was indeed “expedient that one man should die for the people” (John 18:`14).
This is remarkable divine irony. Caiaphas, the chief religious representative of God to the people of Israel, should have known the Old Testament prophecies. He should have gladly welcomed Jesus as the promised Messiah. Instead, he organized Christ’s trial and condemnation.
Yet Caiaphas was divinely inspired (with out knowing or intending it). This pointed out the real mission of Christ to the Jews and the world: that of substitutionary sacrifice for their sins.
It is also interesting that in 1992, the bones of this same Caiaphas were discovered in a tomb underneath the modern city. So far as we know, Caiaphas died still rejecting Christ. Nevertheless, following Christ’s substitutionary death, the evidence for His glorious resurrection (eternal, not temporary like that of Lazarus) became so clear and compelling that “a great company of priests were obedient to the faith”(Acts 6:7).
Caiaphas did, indeed manage to get Jesus crucified. He was no doubt the leader of those who cried “His blood be on us and our children!” But the result was salvation for multitudes.
Was Caiaphas one of the multitudes who then believed? God alone knows whether Caiaphas is among those who will be with Him in eternity. A Christ rejector will not be there.
If you have a Bible question write to Pastor Lenard Huebscher, Gace Baptist Church 12721 75th St. North, Stillwater MN 55082, 651-4303132. www.stillwaterbasptist.net