See the Lamb in full submission.
Hear the silence in His soul.
No complaints and no defenses;
See the victim in control.
While their God is bound and bleeding,
Hear their blind and desperate scorn.
Feel His weight of grief and anguish,
Bowed and battered, bruised and torn.
- Ken Bible, “The Trial”
Jesus’ ordeal continues with (1) his betrayal by Judas and arrest in Gethsemane, (2) his trial before the Sanhedrin and high priest, Caiaphas, and (3) his denials by Peter in the courtyard (Matt 26:47-75 || Mark 14:43-72 || Luke 22:47-65 || John 18:4-27). During this time Jesus is bound, led away, abandoned by most of his followers, spit upon, blindfolded, beaten, slapped, punched, mocked, and rejected as a false messiah.
The psychological torment that Jesus experienced in Gethsemane is now accompanied by the physical torment he endures from the soldiers. The initial beatings and rough treatment intensify his bodily pain, somatic trauma, and loss of blood. “The cutaneous irritations caused by the blows, owing to their accumulation, produce little vesicles, which break and spread sero-sanguineous exudation all over the body” (Barbet, 1953).
The archaeological record concerning Caiaphas is impressive. While scholars are not absolutely certain where his palace was located, most believe the site is now occupied by the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (Latin for “cock crow”). Directly beneath the church is a series of caves from the Second Temple period, featuring a former storage room and a crude dungeon. It is quite likely that Jesus was held there for a time during his trials.
The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu:
Steps leading to Caiaphas’ palace:
Steps leading away from Caiaphas’ palace:
First century ruins below the courtyard, featuring ritual baths:
Model of Caiaphas’ Palace, where meetings of the Sanhedrin could be held:
The dungeon beneath the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu is roughly hewn out of bedrock and separated by arches and pillars. Holes are chiseled through the arched tops so the prisoners’ hands could be bound above their heads while being beaten. It has been said that at the time of Christ there was only one entrance to the prison complex—through a portal in the floor.
Original entrance to the dungeon:
Looking up from the dungeon to the original entrance:
A dungeon chamber:
Another dungeon chamber:
View from near Caiaphas’ palace toward the “Field of Blood” (Matt 27:8):
In 1990 an ornately decorated limestone ossuary (bone depository) was found in Jerusalem’s Peace Forest, bearing the Aramaic inscription, “Yehosef bar Kayafa” (“Joseph son of Caiaphas”) on the long side, and “Yehosef bar Kafa” (a shortened form) on the narrow side. Among the remains inside the ossuary were the bones of a 60-year-old man, who scholars widely regard as the biblical high priest who presided over Jesus’ first trial.
Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century, identifies “Joseph Caiaphas” as the high priest from 18 to 36 A.D. (Antiquities 18:35). He also tells us that Caiaphas was removed from office in 36 A.D. by Vitellius, the Syrian governor. According to Josephus, high priests from the family of Annas (Caiaphas was Annas’ son-in-law) were “heartless when they sit in judgment.”
The Caiaphas ossuary:
‘Joseph son of Caiaphas’ Inscription:
‘Joseph son of Caiaphas’ Detail:
The discovery of the Caiaphas ossuary, the likely discovery of the Caiaphas palace, and the extra-biblical references to Caiaphas in Josephus all combine to lend credibility to the biblical account of Jesus’ initial torment and trial before the high priest.