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©Michael Player

Chapter 18:12-14 (ESV)

Posted on September 16, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  


Chapter 18:12-14 (ESV) - So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

Question to consider: Why would Jesus be led to Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest?

Even though Jesus was the Prince of Peace, the soldiers bound Him during the arrest as if He were some kind of violent criminal. Maybe it was out of fear because of His reputation for doing miraculous signs? After all, they did fall back when Jesus proclaimed, “Ego Eimi!” (“I Am!”) Or maybe it was because Jesus overturned tables in the temple area (twice) and had just come into Jerusalem like a king?

One thing is for certain, their order to arrest Jesus was not out of a search for justice. Generally, when someone honestly pursues justice, it is because a crime has been committed. In the course of investigating said crime, suspects are brought in for questioning, and charges are brought against the person to whom the evidence points. That evidence is then presented openly in a court of law where the accused is able to be represented by an advocate, and a judge presides over the court to make sure the preceding is handled fairly in front of an impartial jury.

When someone is not interested in justice, they arrest a person in search of a crime. In that case, the one arrested is already treated like a criminal, and the enemies behind the arrest try to manufacture evidence and act in secret to bring about their desired outcome.

In Jerusalem, trials took place during the light of day at the Hall of Hewn Stone, a chamber off to the side of the court of the Gentiles in the temple. Jesus was instead taken in the middle of the night to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest Caiaphas. John reminds us that Caiaphas had already determined that it would be expedient for Jesus to die for the people. While it was a prophetic statement, Caiaphas was not a righteous prophet of God.

Annas appeared to be the patriarch of the ruling family of the Sadducees, and those in his family seemed to always be chosen for the role of high priest during that generation. The high priest was to be chosen by the Sandhedrin (a counsel of 71 respected rabbis) as greatest among the priests and affirmed by the king. Since Israel was a vassal state of Rome, and Herod was appointed by Rome as their king, it stands to reason that the greatness of the high priest was considered by way of wealth and power instead of piety and compassion for the people.

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead so Annas was more concerned with protecting his power structure than being a faithful mediator of the people to intercede for their forgiveness. It is evident that Jesus was a threat to his power, to the relationship with Rome, and to their corrupt revenue stream that made merchandise out of the people rather than rightly shepherding them.


Dear heavenly Father, help us to be a people that pursue true justice and seek servant-leaders in our churches who are willing to faithfully administer Your word and good gifts. Please give us the discernment to recognize the humble and faithful rather than opportunists who would make merchandise out of Your people for the sake of worldly gain. Amen.