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 they firstly 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.
There is more that we can learn about Annas. He and his household were not held in very high regard by the Jews, because they were the victims of his exploitation.
Powerful families can either be a force for good or bad. Many stately homes in this country have been built upon the exploitation of ordinary people, often through paying people very poor wages. It is true that there have been, and probably still are examples where rich families have been very good to their work force, such as Cadbury’s, who built a village for their workers. There are others.
Unfortunately Annas and his family highlight the ease of exploiting ordinary people. The Jews disliked them intensely. W Barclay quotes a passage about them from the Talmud:
“Woe to the house of Annas! Woe to their serpents hiss! They are high priests; their sons are keepers of the treasury; their son-in-laws are guardians of the temple; and their servants beat the people with staves.”
It was probably some of these ruthless servants were those who had arrested Jesus. Therefore, we can imagine that Jesus would not have been brought to Annas without having suffered some form of physically assault by these servants.
Jesus was firstly brought to Annas, because He was a real threat to the financial invested interest of Annas. He also saw Jesus as a threat to the cosy nature of the relationship he had with his Roman masters.
In the light of this we can see that Annas wanted to be the first to bring Jesus down.
However, the appearance of Jesus before Annas was not an official court. It could only be a prelude to Jesus being brought before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.
Perhaps today we might call this a kangaroo court, since it was a breach of Jewish law.
There are many followers of Jesus who suffer at the hands of such courts. They are denied the rightful justice of their country, and are unjustly penalized. We must pray for them.
There are also unofficial kangaroo courts, where work colleagues band together to ostracise those who are faithful to Jesus. Again we must pray for them.