We join Jesus as He is brought to the home of Caiaphas. He first appears before Annas though. We followed Jesus to this destination in all the other gospels, but John is the only one who tells of Jesus’ appearance before Annas.
Annas was previously the high priest. Now his son-in-law, Caiaphas, was. Apparently Annas didn’t take retirement very well. He had Jesus brought to him first after He was arrested. We are not told how long Annas held Jesus over for questioning but it was enough time for Him to be denied by Peter the first time and receive the first of many blows.
Jesus is brought directly from the garden, bound and under heavy guard, to stand before Annas. I wonder if Annas interrupted the procession on its way to Caiaphas or if it was already established that they would stop there first. I believe they had to be living in the same household/compound. If not, Peter’s denial at the gate would not be recorded as happening during Jesus time before Annas. Also Peter isn’t recorded to have left the courtyard once he entered until after he denied Jesus all three times. Therefore, all these events happened in the same compound.
I am intrigued by John’s title he gives to Annas during this time. “The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples and His teaching” (verse 19). We learn just a few verses later that it is Annas who was doing this questioning. Why was Annas given the title of “high priest” here? Did all the previous high priests continue to carry that title? We know Caiaphas was the current high priest.
I have another question. Why was Annas asking about Jesus’ teaching? Was he really curious? Was he trying to find fault and a way to trap Him? Most likely the second reason, but why ask? Didn’t he trust Caiaphas to do a thorough job of interrogating Jesus?
Jesus’ answer to this line of questioning is very reasonable. It would hold up in any real court. But this kangaroo court wasn’t interested in the truth. The sole aim was to convict Jesus by any means necessary.
During Jesus’ ministry He openly shared the truth to anyone who would listen. He easily defeated the religious leaders when they tried to trap Him. He freely gave of the gifts the Father. He fed the hungry. He healed the sick. And He freed the oppressed/possessed. All these things He did in plain view of everyone. I wonder where all those people were that night. Maintaining their absence was paramount to this group’s agenda.
Jesus’ words brought about the first blow from one of the guards. This is the only time it is recorded that He responded by calling foul on His abusers. What was it about this guard that brought a response from Jesus? Was he on the fence of belief? What impact did Jesus’ words have on his further participation in the proceedings? Did it give him pause to think or did it infuriate him and make him even crueler?
Lord Jesus, You had done nothing to deserve this treatment. The verdict was rigged. But it was rigged by God. You knew what You were letting yourself in for. I’m SO sorry there was no one there to give true testimony for You. I know it was all part of God’s plan but it still hurts my heart to think of what You endured. Could You see Peter and John from where You were standing? Did their presence offer You any comfort? You knew what Peter was going to do. Did You “hold Your breath” in anticipation? What about John? Did his presence offer You some measure of comfort? I know I would have been a disappointment if I had been there that night. On this side of that horrible day, all I can say is THANK YOU!!!