Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas and Jesus
Twice each year we celebrate the seasons of Christ's life on earth--first His birth, then His death. That emphasis opens and closes the record God has given us of Christ's life.
There were three notable individuals who were closest to Christ in His final hours and yet who completely missed the benefits of His death, burial and resurrection. These three are well known to us from God's Word; they are Pilate, Herod and Caiaphas. As we open to Matthew 26, let me survey three lives that lost everything. God left them as warnings to all of us.
How to Lose Everything!
First, Roman Procurator Pilate missed it all by default—he was neglectful, disinterested, detached, indifferent, and passive. The second, Herod Antipas, murderer of John the Baptist, son of Herod the murderer of babies, a puppet king who was unqualified to rule God’s people was part of a long line of Christ haters and rejecters. Finally, Caiaphas, the man who stood in the very place of God, the High Priest to represent the entire nation at Passover--missed everything because of an active, defiant, aggressive animosity towards Christ.
There is a warning here to all of us. From Pilate we see passive unbelief. We don’t have to be opposed to Christ; we can be somewhat interested, strangely fascinated, and even curious—and still fail to experience Him by faith.
From Herod we can see that long term exposure to Christ and His servants can lead to spiritual blindness if that exposure is unmixed with faith. No family ever had more opportunities to know God than Herod’s. No family ever had such an all star cast of God’s servants (among those who ministered the Word of God to the Herod family were the Magi, John the Baptist, Christ Himself, Paul, James, Peter and so on). And no family more fully rejected the truth than this family!
From Caiaphas we see the horrors of the fallen sinful heart that we all were born with. Our hearts are deceitful and wicked and if left untouched by God, become so hard that even the Son of God Himself standing before our eyes, does not move us. Beware of sin’s deadening power. Beware of pride’s intoxicating poison. Beware of over-familiarity with God. Only a heart empowered by the Spirit can see its sinfulness, long for cleansing, and offer obedience.
Sadly these three so close to Christ's cross were so far from God’s love—not because it was not offered, but because they cared not, sought not, loved not, saw not—and had not.
Don’t let this week pass you by, stop and let the wonder of Christ's love sweep over you. See His innocence and your guilt; His perfections and your sin; His worthiness and your complete unworthiness. Don’t be passively rejecting Him by indifference like Pilate. Don’t be actively rejecting Him by self righteousness like Caiaphas.
Caiaphas trusted the system; Pilate trusted himself. Caiaphas rejected the One he knew was truth; Pilate sought Him but not with his whole heart.
At some time in the future our lives will be over. Then the record will be complete as to just what we lived for. Look with me at all that is left on earth of one of the most vivid characters surrounding Christ's Death and Burial--Caiaphas.
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