Annas, The Political Boss Of JudeaPrincipal Characters Involved Against Jesus
Day Five (Continues)
The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this courtroom:
It was in the year 7 A. D. that the procurator, Coponius, appointed his friend, Annas, the son of Seth, an Alexandrian Sadducee, to become the high priest at Jerusalem.
That, incidentally, was the highest appointive office of Jewry.
The high priestly family of Annas held full sway, with only a few brief interruptions, for the following fifty-one years.
All six of his sons followed their father as high priest during that long period of time; and it was his son-in-law, Caiaphas, who, though the dominant influence of this same Annas, held that high office during the time when Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin in A. D. 30.
Although Annas had then become an old and rather feeble man, in his late eighties, he was still possessed with great wealth and political power in Jerusalem.
And there appeared something awesome in the long wisp of snow white hair which constantly dangled before the dark green eyes of this man who boasted of being master of the people. He was their political boss; and his every thought, word and deed conveyed the height of his extreme egotism.
Moreover, it was generally admitted that old Annas had the most superb intelligence among the ruling elements in all Judea; and he seemed unacquainted with fear or remorse of conscience. His tyrannical and unholy philosophy was that of "rule or ruin."
He had been quite generous in providing numerous luxuries for his son-in-law, and he was never the least timid about reminding Caiaphas of the lasting and unpaid dept of gratitude which was owing to Annas.
Therefore, it was not unusual for Caiaphas, when he knew it, to unfailingly do the bidding of his father-in-law, regardless of ethics, law, morals, or any consequences, whatsoever.
Annas could not be called a religious man. Being a devout Sadducee, he openly subscribed to the creed that there was no such thing as life after death; nor did he believe in a spiritual world at all.
He believed and taught that future rewards and punishments were absurd, and that everything passed into oblivion and ended at the grave.
Typical of the Sadducees, he boasted that the theory of the resurrection was a base deceit and an utter impossibility!
Everything which Jesus taught in His great ministry of three years, in and around Jerusalem, was regarded by Annas as nothing more than abstractions of a discredited, false prophet.
He had no patience with nor respect for the new, religious theories of the Master. Therefore, as may be expected, he was one of the bitterest enemies of Christ.
He therefore, had a deep reason and motive, as he thought, for conspiring with his disreputable son-in-law, Caiaphas, and money-mad Judas Iscariot to speedily get rid of the Lowly Nazarene, regardless of the means to that end.
Murder was commonplace with the corrupt individual, and he entertained no scruples whatever about engaging in evil enterprises if, by so doing, he could gain his point, or accomplish that which he desired.
It is noteworthy to remember that those who sold the doves and lambs in the Temple, to be used as objects for burning upon the alters of sacrifice, were the hirelings of Annas.
And it was his bankers who also profited by the usurious exchange of Roman currency into coinage of the temple.
They were there to enrich the already fat purse of their employer; and he could see no wrong impropriety in having them engage in such unholy practices in the Temple, for he did not consider the Temple as a place of prayer.
To him it was no more than a convenient meeting place, where the crowds congregated for their religious practices, and at which the unfair exchanges would be made, to his personal benefit- and other considerations were of no concern to him!
What a sight to observe! Droves of Jews, trudging daily into the Temple to offer up their sacrifices, and being forced to purchase their lambs and doves, and exchange their coins, with Annas' agents- since he had a monopoly on that sordid business.
Annas, like the countless thousands in Judea, had also heard of the miracles of Jesus; especially how He brought His friend, Lazarus, back to life from a four-day-old grave!
That, of course, served to greatly irritate the old man beyond description. All of His preaching and teaching that life, after death, was sheer nonsense, was now placing him in a ridiculous position before his followers.
But there was no denying that such a thing had really occurred; since it was witnessed by hundreds of reputable Jews who quickly spread the news throughout the land. Indeed, in his declining years, he was forced to admit that his conclusions about the resurrection had been completely repudiated by this unknown, humble Man of Galilee.
The pride and prestige of Annas was found to be on the wane.
Something must be done, and quickly, to dispose of this trouble-maker whose miracles and teachings were the source of a deep-rooted embarrassment!
Then, to increase the consuming fire of enmity, word reached Annas that Jesus had on the previous Monday morning, in Jerusalem, bodily forced the money-changers and dove and lamb sellers from the Temple.
To say that the old man was incensed and bitter would be to describe the situation rather mildly. He was outraged, humiliated beyond endurance and determined to "get even" with his enemy, the Christ!
Thus, we see that the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus was considered a direct challenge to the power and authority of Annas and his group of Sadducees.
They immediately determined to retaliate for the turmoil which He had created by that spectacle in the Temple.
The rage of Annas caused him to burst into tears as he beheld his hirelings being chased from the Temple and into the busy streets of Jerusalem, dodging the sturdy lashes from the whip in the strong arm of Jesus!
It was shortly after this episode that Annas, with his son-in-law, Caiaphas, entered into the sordid, cheap and unholy conspiracy with Judas Iscariot to betray the Master, in the nighttime, for those thirty pieces of silver!
And where was Jesus first taken, after the unlawful arrest, outside the Garden of Gethsemane, near (5 minutes) Jerusalem? John gives the answer:
"Then, the band and captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound Him, and led Him away to Annas first; for he was the Father-in-law of Caiaphas, which was high priest that same year."
Taking Jesus first to Annas was no mere coincidence.
It had been planned that way, by the terms of the conspiracy.
Having personal knowledge of the fact of the arrest of Jesus was all that Annas needed for the moment.
For then, he could secretly arrange with Caiaphas, the high priest, to call a quick, nighttime meeting of the Sanhedrin, create a quorum of only twenty-three members, carefully chosen, then begin the trial of the Christ, while his friends in Jerusalem, to celebrate the Feast of the Passover, were still asleep!
Thus they could terminate His ministry by condemning Him to death before His friends could learn of the tragedy! And that is exactly what they did!
Annas, devoid of principle, and with a heart black to the core, willingly connived with Judas and Caiaphas for the cold-blooded murder of the Son of God!