John 18.12-14 cont.
12 Then the cohort and the commander and the servants of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.
13 And firstly they brought (him) to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest for that year.
14 Now it was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was better for one man to die on behalf of the people.
It is interesting to read that Jesus was firstly taken to Annas. He was not the chief priest, but he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the chief priest. Why did this happen?
Annas was a man who had great authority. He had been the high priest for several years (from 6 AD to 15 AD). At least four of his sons (probably five) had also held the office of high priest. Now his son-in-law held that position.
This suggests that Annas was someone whose influence was unlikely to be questioned.
W Barclay throws more light on the situation and position of the high priests. They were basically the puppets of Rome. To hold the position of high priest meant having to pay (bribe) Rome for the privilege. It also meant that the high priest was a collaborator with Rome and her officials (the enemy, particularly in the eyes of the people).
Since the family of Annas had held the office of high priest on a number of occasions it is clear that it was a rich family. Again W Barclay says that Annas would have made his money through extortion and exploitation. Worshippers had to buy their sacrifices (lamb, doves, pigeons etc.). There were many places where they could buy these outside of the temple. However, they had to be perfect, with no spot or blemish. To make sure of this there were inspectors at the temple who had to examine every sacrificial offering.
They would invariable find something wrong with the sacrificial offering. This meant that the worshipper had to buy their sacrifice from the temple sellers (those whom Jesus had cast out). This was at greatly inflated prices, which would go to lining the pockets of Annas and his family. Where the sacrificial offerings were sold within the temple was known as the Bazaars of Annas.
It was to this corrupt and devious man that Jesus was first brought. He was the inspector who was going to look for the spot and blemish in Jesus, an impossible task since Jesus knew no sin.
He took on Himself all our sins and paid their price in His death at Calvary:
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ – 2 Corinthians 5.21 (NLT).