Posted by: Akash Vansal | April 4, 2012

The Trial of Jesus :Anna

On The Way To The Cross : Jesus Examined-1
Luke 22:54, 61, 63-65
Parallel passages: Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, John 18:15-17, 25-27)

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Most desire to go to The Garden of Eden, but hesitate to walk through
The Garden of Gethsemane which is the way to it.

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That Jesus Christ was arrested we have seen.  Here, we will see the first of the 6 (some may say 7) trial of Jesus.
Jesus Christ was subjected to undergo 6 trials, 3 by the Jewish authority and 3 by the heathen authority.

Trial 1: By Anna, the father in law of Caiaphas, the high priest of that year.  Only John makes mention of this. John 18:12-13

Trial 2: By Caiaphas, the high priest.                                                                     Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53, Luke 22:54, John 18:24

Trial 3: By the Sanhedrin-the religious supreme court of the Jews.                     Matthew 27:1, Mark 15:1, Luke 22:66

Trial 4: By Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea.                                    Matthew 27:2, Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1, John 18:28

Trial 5: By Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee.
Only Luke records this in Luke 23:7-8

Trial 6: By Pontius Pilate for the second time.                                                      Matthew 27:15, Mark 15:6, Luke 23:13, John 18:39

Trial 7: By the whole ‘crowd’ that included the Jewish authorities, elders, commoners, Roman soldiers, Judge, Matthew 27:20-24, Mark 15:13-15, Luke 22: 21-24, John 19:15-16.

Have you ever thought as you (must have) read through the passages that narrates the trial of Jesus as to ‘why at all the Jews made Jesus go through various trials when they were not at all bothered to maintain justice even in least substance?
That Jesus was in their control, that Pilate himself gave Jesus over to them to try and execute, then why on earth the Jews were hell bend on seeking ‘justice’ by forcing Pilate to deliver as per their wish and desire ?

After arresting Jesus, the authorities took Him to Anna. He was the father in law of Caiaphas, the acting high priest of the Jews. It was he who had openly and expressively made clear his intension of putting Jesus to death.
Now, in a real sense, Anna had no authority of whatsoever over anyone leave alone Jesus. But he seemed to be commanding a great clout.

Annas, or Ananias, or Ananus, son of Seth, was appointed high priest by Quirinius, the governor of Syria in AD 6. This Quirinius is also mentioned in Luke  2:2, as the governor of Syria as the time of the birth of Jesus. Annas was finally deposed by the Roman governor Valerius Gratus in AD 15. The next two high priests, including one of his sons, were both deposed after about a year, before Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, was appointed (Jos Ant 18:2:2).
After being deposed, he remained a powerful figure in Jerusalem, and even though he had no official position was still referred to as “high priest”. Through skilful diplomacy and probably much bribery, he was able to ensure that family remained dominant in Judea for many years. To give a date for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, Luke refers to the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas (Lk 3:2). At first sight, this would seem to imply that there were two high priests in office at the same time, but instead indicates that power and influence that Annas continued to exercise, even after he was deposed. By this time, Annas had been deposed for over ten years, and Caiaphas was the current high priest.

Although Annas does not appear to play a leading role in the trial of Jesus, it is most likely that he was the one who should be held the most responsible for the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. As the power behind the ruling class, he (would have) directed the events of his capture, trials before the Sanhedrin and before Pilate, and eventual crucifixion.

John 18: 12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Luke and Matthew and Mark are silent over Jesus presentation before Anna, but John gives us a brief but descriptive account of this event. Anna must have ordered the ‘crowds’ to present Jesus after arresting Him before He is presented in front of anyone.
That Anna wanted Jesus to be dead, we have seen, then what else he wanted to know of Jesus? Why he wanted to meet Jesus? Nothing much is written of this. But we can understand that he just wanted to ridicule Jesus, make fun of Him. They viewed Jesus with animosity as He was creating ‘problem’ for them in plundering wealth from the people and for over shadowing them in matters of religious teachings and for commanding peoples loyalty. (Please see November 2011 issue for more)

We read in John 18:19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

If only Annas query had been genuine, but it was not. Anna was aware of Jesus disciples. All that he was doing was taunting Jesus maybe in words like, “Oh, so it was You who boasted of so many followers. Now where are they? All those who exalted You saying,
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” (John 12:12)
“How come they have dumped You so fast?” “Now who is going to rally behind You?” “ Now what are You going to do, that Your disciples have vanished?”
“And what about Your teaching?”

Again, Anna knew what He taught,. And Jesus knew his intension was not to know it for edification but to ridicule. For Jesus taught not in secrecy but in full knowledge of public in public area. So, His everyone, including the Jews and in particular the ‘friends and well wishers’ of Anna were familiar with His teaching .(John 11:46-48). Because they were always after Jesus to catch Him in something or other to condemn Him.
So, Jesus does not teach Anna as He taught Nicodemus or Martha.

John 18: 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

Anna must not have expected Jesus to speak this way. He must have thought Jesus will surrender even His Truth. And that like most others, Jesus will not reply back. That Jesus will plead to be released, plead for his mercy or say sorry for all the things that disturbed Anna. But here, Jesus speaks out and Anna is insulted. That is what Anna and his soldiers and attendants feels. And react violently and even struck Jesus on His cheek . They expected Jesus to speak in utmost humble stance, giving many credits and salutations of admiration. But Jesus upsets them.

John 18:22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

On being struck, Jesus in a way challenge the whole Jews to just bring a single wrong statement or deed against Him that He said or committed, otherwise they don’t have any right to punish Him.

Anna was speechless after hearing this. He could not take on the heat turned on by Jesus. He was very much offended by Jesus and insulted in front of all his attendants. He decides to get rid of Him before He insults him anymore and sends Jesus to Caiaphas.
John 18:24 Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

Conclusion: Among the most unfortunate people who happened to meet Jesus yet lost soul to Satan is Anna. Zachchaeus too had a very similar one time meeting with Jesus. But Zachchaeus pounced upon the opportunity that Jesus provided him. And made sure his soul was not lost.
Today, we may not be in effect trying Jesus, cross-examining Jesus in order to condemn Jesus as Annas was, but then chances are the ultimate result could be the same as we try and mock Jesus in ways best known to us.

Do we not pretend sometime or other that we do not know Jesus’ teaching on issues which we not only know but also preach? Robbing even a Rupee is a cheating, robbing from our parents is also a sin. Telling lies even for a ‘good cause’ is a sin. How many times we compromise on small (and big issues) for our convenience? Think over.

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