The high priest Caiaphas (Joseph named Kaiafa, according to Josephus Flavius) was the same high priest who sent Jesus to execution. Yes, he had to ask Pontius Pilate, because with his power he could not execute nobody.
An ossuary of Caiaphas (or, gluskema, a stone box for storing the bones of the deceased) was discovered in Jerusalem, along with a dozen other ossuaries. Most likely, these were ossuaries with the bones of members of the high priest’s family.
An ossuary with the inscription «Joseph bar Kaiafa» turned out to be a rusty nail (verified: from that era), and another such nail was found in the trash next to the burial. It has been proven that these were the nails that the Romans used for crucifixion. Simply, it was an instrument of execution, nothing special.
Yes, all over the world there are about 4,000 nails with which Jesus was crucified, in different places, in different countries. Could it be that the nails found in Kaiafa’s tomb are the real ones?
Maybe yes, maybe no. I think it doesn’t matter at all. We are now interested in something else: why did the same or other nails of the crucifixion end up in the grave of the high priest Caiaphas? Let’s try to answer this question. Let’s consider two versions.
First, they could have been planted there by Jews, supporters of Jesus, who later became Christians. As a reminder of the mortal sin that the high priest committed in order to destroy his ideological opponent, their God.
But another explanation is also possible. From the point of view of Jewish tradition and morality, Caiaphas really committed a terrible sin. Is it permissible to kill someone with whom you are discussing religion, morality, and in general principles?
The entire Talmud consists of discussions. Talmud experts claim that it is full of theomachic and «heretical» statements. And nothing happens, the Jews continue to discuss it. Nobody kills anyone, not even with the help of the authorities. Opponents can be denounced, sometimes even cursed, but there was not a single murder in the disputes of Jews among themselves.
And even more so, the decision of the dispute was not passed on to non-Jews. All the more so for the oppressors-Romans. Caiaphas tried to «wash his hands», threw the solution of the religious dispute over to the representative of the Roman authorities, and asked to execute his opponent on the basis of a religious discussion.
On the other hand, historians have counted about twenty prophets who preached their sermons during the century before and after Jesus. Many of them were killed by believers or authorities. Jesus was no exception.
Please, read the Gospels. It is reported that on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus foresaw his execution. «Let this cup pass me» — this is his plea. And yet he went for it. And again: Jesus announced to the Sanhedrin that his father was in the Tabernacle of the Covenant, so the high priest was obliged to worship him as his God.
Quite simply, Jesus claimed supreme authority over the people of Israel. I believe that the high priest Caiaphas was extremely patient and humble. Imagine that today someone came to Putin and declared that he is the true president of Russia. Let Putin move over and salute him. Perhaps this will make it clearer for everyone what Jesus did to Caiaphas.
In fact, it turned out that Caiaphas did exactly what Jesus himself aspired to. The gospel accounts leave no doubt that Jesus desired and longed to be executed. He sought this both from the Sanhedrin and from the procurator (prefect) Pontius Pilate.
Jesus left Pilate no chance to pardon himself when he confirmed the Sanhedrin’s accusation that he had proclaimed himself King of Israel. Pilate was obliged to execute him, but not for violation of Jewish traditions, but for a rebellion against Rome.
So, Jesus wanted his execution and got it. His goal was clear: so he hoped to win in a dispute with the high priest, and most importantly, in the struggle for influence over the people. Prove that he is right and become God for the people of Israel. Then his faithful apostles will spread his faith among the Jews.
At that time, neither he nor the apostles thought about a worldwide Jewish or pagan sect of followers of Jesus. Or maybe they just thought, and for the sake of this plan, Jesus arranged his own execution? Why did his apostles go to all parts of the world not during his lifetime, but after the crucifixion of Jesus? Jesus challenged the high priest, knowing that the Jews scattered throughout the Roman Empire did not agree with the conservatism of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin and were ready to free themselves from its influence.
Whether he believed in his immortality, that he would be resurrected after the execution, or maybe he faked his death on the cross and was taken down alive earlier than usual, only God can know. Jesus successfully performed many miracles, was a great specialist in this profession, so he could count on success in the miracle of rising from the dead.
And now let’s consider Caiaphas. After Jesus’ execution, he became the target of the hatred of Jesus’ supporters, and at the same time the target of the resentment of his own followers, the Jews.
Tactically, he helped his opponent Jesus carry out his plan to become God in the eyes of many Jews. Strategically, Caiaphas helped give birth to a new worldwide religion, Christianity.
From the point of view of the Jewish ethnos, the immoral act of Caiaphas saved the Jews from complete dissolution among other nations. Only a split with Christians allowed Judaism to develop in its own separate way and preserve us as an ethnos. Otherwise, we would have dissolved among Christians, as happened with most of the Jews living in the Roman Empire.
Indeed, where did the three million Jews of the Roman Empire disappear to? They simply converted to Christianity, where the principle of «neither Hellene nor Jew» was in effect, and their children were no longer considered Jews. The sect of Judeo-Christians, that is, Jews who believed in Jesus was persecuted by the leaders of the Christian church and eventually disappeared. Some of the Judeo-Christians returned to Judaism.
Genetic scientists have calculated that the multimillion Ashkenazi nation multiplied from several hundred Jewish males that survived to the sixth century AD in northern Italy. They also took local Italian wives there.
Roughly speaking, modern Ashkenazim are half Arabs and half Italians. Anyone who looks closely at the Jews can notice this. Well, if you look very closely, you can also notice a little bit of Khazars, Germans, Slavs, and French, as calculated by geneticists, in the amount of 10-15 percent.
But let’s back to Caiaphas. He had enough reason to regret his deed. Or, on the contrary, he believed that he saved the Jewish people from sin, from following a false prophet. One way or another, Caiafa bar Yosef considered the crucifixion of Jesus to be the main act of his life. Perhaps he himself ordered to put the nails of Jesus’ crucifixion in the ossuary, along with his bones.