Friday, July 1, 2011

The Granddaughter of Caiaphas

This past week Israeli researchers announced an amazing discovery. An ossuary (stone box used to store the bones of someone who had died) that had been dug up by grave robbers and seized by the antiquities authority was determined to be authentic.

But what's so amazing about verifying the authenticity of a stolen stolen bone box?

The authorities spent three years verifying that the box was not a forgery because the inscription on it was so significant. They wanted to make sure the box was authentic before announcing the discovery. The inscription on the box read, "Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests of Ma’aziah from Beth Imri."

Miriam, the name of Moses' sister, was a common Hebrew name. The New Testament name Mary is the Greek form of this name. The Miriam in this inscription is identified as the daughter of Yeshua. That's the Old Testament name Joshua, and Jesus is the Greek form of this name.

We read the New Testament and know that Jesus was the daughter of Mary. Some may have wondered why both names aren't found in the Old Testament. In reality, they are--once one understands what the Hebrew equivalents are--and they were also very common in during the New Testament era. In this particular case Mary is the daughter of Jesus!

But what's most remarkable about the inscription is the fact that it also names Miriam's grandfather, Caiaphas. He was the high priest who presided over the trial of Jesus, and who had Jesus delivered over to Pilate for crucifixion.

In one of those historical oddities, Caiaphas had a son with the same Hebrew name as Jesus. And that son eventually had a daughter whom he gave the same Hebrew name as Mary. Isn't it just like God to allow this particular bone box to be preserved...perhaps, in part, to help us remember once again the historical reality of the events we know from the Bible!

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