The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
Annas Was Without Jurisdiction
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
Having taken the Christ into custody, they immediately led Him to the house of His bitterest enemy, Annas, who was the dominating influence over not only the Sadducees but the Sanhedrin as well- and whose son-in-law, Caiaphas, was the presiding judge.
"And led Him away to Annas first."
Why was He taken there?
In order that Annas might have personal knowledge of His arrest, so that he could then contact his disreputable son-in-law, and have him call the nighttime session of a select group of the Sanhedrin, while the friends of Jesus were still asleep.
The private examination of Jesus by old man Annas was illegal for three reasons:
(1) It was conducted at night, in violation of the Hebrew laws;
(2) no individual, not even a judge, had the right to question the accused judicially;
(3) private examinations of anyone charged with crime were not permitted by the Hebrew law.
Here is a question from the Jewish law, applicable to the situation:
"An accused man shall never be subjected to private or secret examination, lest, in his perplexity, he furnish testimony against himself."
Can it be said that Annas, who, with his five sons had served in the high office of high priest for about fifty years, was not familiar with that law, which, incidentally, had been in force for over two hundred years?
Certainly he was acquainted with that and all of the other laws of the Hebrew society; but, in his desperation to be rid of the Christ, he trampled upon the law, in the hope of obtaining some kind of incriminating statement from the lips of Jesus, and thereby have some basis for the filing of criminal charges.
Knowledge of the law, followed by a deliberate breach of it, is the best evidence of willfulness!
No judge, sitting alone, could conduct an examination of the accused.
The lowest Hebrew court was known as the court of three- consisting of three judges, who sat as a group.
Moreover, we know that Annas was not a judge, but a former high priest, with no authority whatever.
This was a good and wise law for judges, for the full protection of anyone against whom some criminal charge had been filed.
It served to protect him from making some incriminating statement, which could be used against him on the trial of his case.
When Annas had Jesus before him, we note that he inquired as to His disciples and His doctrine.
And Jesus answered and said:
"I spake openly to the world; I even taught in the synagogue, and in the Temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why asketh thou Me? Ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said."
Jesus was certainly well within his legal rights to make such a reply.
In effect He was merely calling attention to the fact that, without exception, His teachings were all made public, which many heard.
It was then that one of the petty officers, in the home of Annas, violated the Hebrew law by striking the Christ in the face!
And this corrupt, political boss merely smiled in approval at such unlawful conduct.
And Jesus did not complain, but made this pertinent remark:
"If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil, but if well, why smitest thou Me?"
This was perfect illustration of courage, as well as logic and truth.
Biblical history reveals that, at the times referred to herein, Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod all lived just a short distance apart from each other- hence the convenience of being in close contact with the situation, with a minimum of effort or loss of time.
And the time element was to be a factor- since they were in a great hurry to have Jesus condemned before His friends became aware of His plight.
Annas was smart enough to know, whatever might be the nature of the Kingdom which Jesus was advocating, there would be certainly no position therein for him or his colleagues.
Kings do not mix with swine!
Not being able to obtain any sort of incriminating statement from Jesus, at that secret, after~midnight examination, Annas directed the group of men to take the Christ before Caiaphas for trial.
And, far from being a trustful individual, he personally led them to the palace of the high priest.
Moreover, he remained there at the palace of his son-in-law, giving directions and orders as to the proceedings before the Greater Sanhedrin. Indeed, this cheep, weather~beaten Annas was not going to miss an opportunity to supervise the cowardly "Trials" of the Lowly Nazarene.
Annas had been before the selected group of the Sanhedrin but a very few moments when he began to engage in a whispered conference with Caiaphas.
"Was the stage all set?"
"Had any details been over-looked?"
"Had Caiaphas summoned only the known enemies of Jesus?"
He was demanding an affirmative answer to each inquiry!
And, it must be admitted, he had no occasion to be disappointed with the answers which fell upon his obnoxious ears!
Yes, everyone was ready- even the Christ- although He was all alone; friendless but unafraid!
Caiaphas, in considering the plight of Jesus, had said:
"It is expedient for us that one man should die for his people."
And by that statement he conveyed the idea that it was thought best to take the life of the Christ, for the sake of the people whom he represented.
It was ironical that Jesus, in quite a different and more reverent sense, likewise felt it was, indeed, "expedient that one men should die for His people"- and He would be that Man; ready to die, all alone, for a sin-cursed world, whose only redemption could be found in the precious blood of a crucified Christ.
Another observation can here be made, respecting the series of unlawful acts which were done by those evil enemies of the Christ:
The Hebrew law expressly prohibited the condition of "any proceedings, involving a capital case, at night."
A capital case is one wherein the penalty of death may be imposed.
We have already pointed out, beyond question that, after the arrest of Jesus, beyond the midnight hour, He was immediately taken to Annas for the examination.
Therefore, the unlawful examination was had in the nighttime, contrary to existing laws on the subject!
So, we find Annas deliberately, knowingly and willfully trampling upon the solemn laws of his own society.
With men of that caliber in Judea, there is little wonder that a sense of unrest and turmoil could be observed everywhere.