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The Bible and Archaeology:

Jesus Christ's Arrest,

Trial and Crucifixion

by Mario Seiglie

In recent issues of The Good News we have examined archaeological findings that shed light on the period of Jesus Christ's ministry in Judea in the early first century.

In the four Gospels no period of Christ's ministry is more detailed than the last few days when He was arrested, tried and crucified as a common criminal. What have archaeologists found that confirm and illuminate many of the details of Jesus' last days on earth?

Evidence of Caiaphas's tomb

Events rushed to a crescendo as Jesus and His disciples came to Jerusalem for that final Passover feast. The chief priests began to panic after hearing that in nearby Bethany Jesus had resurrected His friend Lazarus from the dead (John 11).

How did they react to news of this miracle? "Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together a council and said, 'What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.' And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, 'You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.' Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation . . . Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death" (verses 47-53).

Amazingly, the tomb of this priest was discovered in 1990. Israeli archaeologist Zvi Greenhut, who confirmed the finding, describes the event:

"It was a cold day at the end of November when I received word at the Antiquities Authority that an old cave had been discovered . . . When I arrived I observed that the roof of the cave had collapsed. But even while standing outside, I could see four ossuaries, or bone boxes, in the central chamber of the cave. To an archaeologist, this was a clear indication that this was a Jewish burial cave . . . So it was that we discovered the final resting place of the Caiaphas family, one of whose priestly members presided at the trial of Jesus" ("Burial Cave of the Caiaphas Family," Biblical Archaeological Review, September-October 1992, pp. 29-30).

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Table of Contents that includes "The Bible and Archaeology: Jesus Christ's Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion"
Other Articles by Mario Seiglie
Keywords: Pilate crucifixion archaeology 

Jesus' resurrection:

Jesus' death: Archaeology: Key Subjects Index
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Biblical References Index
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