Summary: The Nepotism of Caiaphas (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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!


• 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.


• 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.

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