Summary: The Nepotism of Caiaphas (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: John chapter 11 verses
• Many years ago a young man from an distinguished family;
• Applied to a renowned bank for employment.
• The bank wrote to one of the references given by the young man;
• And he received this reply.
• “We simply cannot say enough about the young man.
• His father, they wrote, was a Rothchild; his mother was a Windsor.
• Further back was a happy blend of Spencers, Mountbatton’s,
• And other of England’s first families. His recommendation was given without hesitation.”
• Several days later, the bank sent a note saying;
• The information supplied was altogether inadequate. It read:
• “We are not contemplating using the young man for breeding purposes.
• Just for work!”
Quote: Peter once said in one of his speeches (Acts chapter 10 verses 34-35):
“Neither is God a respecter of persons but accepts those from every family, nation, and race who fear Him and work for His kingdom”.
Our title this morning is ‘The Nepotism of Caiaphas’.
• The word ‘nepotism’ comes from the Latin (‘nepotes’);
• And means ‘nephews’.
• The word came to prominence in the Middle Ages;
• When the word was applied to the so-called ‘nephews’ of the Pope.
• These ‘nephews’ were actually his illegitimate children.
• And because of who their father was, they were given honours in public life.
• In time the word expanded and came to mean favouritism in public life towards relatives;
• And it has featured in the public life of every country.
• Always has done always will do!
• Saying; “It’s not WHAT you know that counts but WHO you know”
• Like every coin nepotism has two sides to it;
• A good one and a bad one!
(A). THE GOOD SIDE TO NEPOTISM:
• It is a very natural thing to do.
• Caring for your own kith and kin is natural.
• We use the saying ‘blood is thicker than water’.
• According to 1 Timothy chapter 5 verse 8;
• It is a biblical thing to do.
• God set us in families that we might support, help and encourage one another.
(B). THE BAD SIDE TO NEPOTISM:
• Is when public funds and public office are misused;
• Bending the rules in regards to family members.
• Or when a persons partiality to a family member excludes others;
• Who are more competent or have greater ability at a task or job.
• Ill: Missionaries find this a problem in countries like Africa.
• Culture says you look after family first.
• Christian leaders should NOT appoint elders, deacons or other leaders;
• Because they are family,
• They should only are appointed;
• If they are gifted or qualify to the requirements of scripture!
Caiaphas is a classic example of bad nepotism;
• Of someone who missed used his power and position in a nepotistic way:
• We see that illustrated each time he is mentioned.
• Caiaphas is only mentioned by name in three New Testament situations:
• (1). At the raising of Lazarus (John chapter 11 verses 49-53).
• (2). At the trial of Jesus (Matthew chapter 26 verses 57-58, John chapter 18 verse 24).
• (3). At the trial of Peter and John (Acts chapter 4)
(1). Caiaphas & his family.
• We know from secular historical records more than the New Testament record;
• Concerning Caiaphas’ background.
• We know that Caiaphas was a very successful man in his day.
• He was born of the tribe of Levi,
• From the times of Moses and Aaron this tribe,
• Was chosen for the priesthood and for service in the temple.
As was the norm, Caiaphas married a Levite woman:
• It may have been for love;
• But it was probably more for political and financial reasons!
• The woman Caiaphas married was part of Israel’s most influential family;
• We are told she was the daughter of the High Priest, Annas.
Now there should only have been one high priest:
• That was God’s instruction in the Old Testament.
• But under Roman rule there were two high priests:
• That is because the Romans had become disenchanted with Annas,
• Caring nothing for Jewish procedure & history, they simply removed and replaced him.
• Then they offered the office of High Priest to the highest bidder every year.
• (It was a kind of a first century Ebay appointment!)
• Quote: Josephus, the Jewish historian tells us:
• “That Annas was a great hoarder of money” – he was loaded!
• Annas may have been removed from his official position by Rome;
• He would make sure that one of his family got the job.