OceanSide church of Christ

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Jesus before Annas

John 18:12-24

Victor M. Eskew




A.    In our last study involving “The Sayings of the Crucifixion,” Jesus was arrested by the mob in the Garden of Gethsemane.


B.      As we continue to read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it appears that Jesus was immediately brought into the presence of Caiaphas the high priest (Matt. 27:57; Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54).


C.     This, however, is not the case.  John’s gospel reveals that Jesus was first taken into the presence of Annas (John 18:12-13).


Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.


1.      Just because the other writers do not record this event does not reflect in any way on the inspiration of the Bible.

a.      First, the Holy Spirit chose not to reveal this to them at the time of writing.

b.      Second, John had entered into the palace of the high priest.  Thus, he was well aware of what happened at this time (See John 18:15).


And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple:  that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.


2.      Who is Annas?

a.      Annas was a high priest (Luke 3:2) from A.D. 6/7 to A.D. 14/15.

b.      There are differences of opinion as to whether he was actually ruling at this time, or, serving in an advisory capacity.

1)      There are times in Jewish history when there were two high priests serving at the same time.

2)      Or, it could have been that he had relinquished that role, and had become the President of the Sanhedrin.

a)      Most believe that he stepped down at the insistence of Rome in A.D. 14-15.

b)      However, it was he would insisted that his son-in-law be his successor.  In this way, he could still have great influence in the office of high priest.

c.       In either case, Annas was still a very powerful man.

1)      He was respected for his age and wisdom.

2)      He was respected for his position and authority at the time.’

3)      Thus, Jesus was taken to him first.


D.    We will not mention it again in this lesson, but there also things that are happening at this same time with both Peter and John.

1.      They have followed the Lord.

2.      John, being known by the high priest, was able to enter into the palace.

3.      He eventually got Peter into the palace as well (John 18:16).


But Peter stood at the door without.  Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.


I.                   JESUS WAS TRANSPARENT (John18:19-21)


A.    “The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine” (John 18:19).

1.      Movements cause leaders to tremble.  They involve several things.

a.      The leader:  The leader of this movement was now standing before them.

b.      The beliefs:  Movements motivate through teachings and beliefs.

c.       The adherents:  How many individuals are being influenced by the movement?

2.      When questions like this are asked, there are usually ulterior motives as well.  The leaders are listening for answers that will entrap the one who has been taken into custody.  (NOTE:  The Jews want to put down the movement sparked by Jesus Christ).


B.      Jesus does not answer directly.  He points them to the transparency of His ministry.

1.      The openness (John 18:20)


Jesus answered him, I speak openly to the world; I even taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort:  and in secret I have said nothing.


a.      Jesus notes that He preached in three different locations.

1)      To the world

2)      In the synagogue

3)      In the temple

b.      He concludes with an assertion:  “…in secret I have said nothing.”

c.       Last Sunday night we talked about Paul’s desire for boldness.  Jesus affirms his boldness. 

1)      He did not hide His ministry.

2)      He did not try to hide his teachings.

3)      They were set forth in the market and in the places of worship. 

4)      The Jews, including the religious leaders, had heard His doctrines.

d.      LESSON:  We need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. 

1)      We need to speak openly in all places.

2)      We do not need to say things in secret. 

3)      In our study this past Thursday night on Mormonism, we noted that the Mormon attempt to hide many of their teachings from the public, especially on their website.  They cover up many of the unique aspects of their doctrines.  This was not the approach of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2.      The witnesses (John 18:21)


Why askest thou me?  Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them:  behold, they know what I said.


a.      Jesus was confident that His teachings were so well known by the masses that all one had to do was to ask them about the things He said.

b.      LESSON:  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could affirm that the public knows exactly what the churches of Christ teach? 

c.       Think about this.  If the only reason the Jews had arrested Jesus was to know about His teachings, it was a ridiculous arrest.  They could have ascertained this information from just about anyone.

C.     Before leaving this point, there is one important factor that needs to be highlighted.

1.      This was an illegal trial.

2.      Why?

a.      It as being conducted at night.

b.      “For the Talmud states, Sanhed. c. iv. s. 1, that - “Criminal processes can neither commence nor terminate, but during the course of the day” (Clark, e-sword).

c.       The fact that His judgment would be taken away was prophesied by Isaiah years before this event (Isa. 53:8; Acts 8:33).


In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away…


d.      LESSON:  Injustice does not care about the law.  Injustice does its deeds under the cover of darkness so there are few that know of its dastardly work.


II.                AN ACCUSATION OF DISREPECT (John 18:22)


And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so.


A.    This was a subordinate officer of the court.  He may have been one of those sent to arrest Jesus.


B.      When he heard Jesus’ words, he grew angry.

1.      He slapped him on the face.

2.      He accused Jesus of disrespecting the high priest (See Exo. 22:28)


Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.


C.     LESSON:  Poor leaders and immature leaders do not know how to properly handle bold opposition.

1.      They exhibit pride:  Who do you think you are talking to?

They exhibit ignorance:  They do not have wise responses.

They exhibit immaturity:  They resort to anger and violence.

2.      I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit mentioned things in the qualification of elders that apply to this point.

a.      Not a striker (I Tim. 3:3)

b.      Not a brawler (I Tim. 3:3)

c.       Not soon angry (Tit. 1:7)


D.    Again, the rules of the judicial system were violated.

1.      No punishment was to be issued until the individual was convicted of a crime.

2.      Punishment was only to be carried out by the commandment of the official leading the investigation.  In this case, that would have been Annas.


III.             JESUS CALL FOR EVIDENCE (John 18:23)


Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil:  but if well, why smitest thou me?


A.    Jesus demands proof from this officer that he was in violation of any law.



B.      He says:  “If I have spoken evil.”

1.      Evil

a.      Strong (2560):  badly

b.      Thayer:  improperly, wrongly, to speak ill of

2.      Jesus wanted this man to prove any untruth in his statement.  He wanted him to prove that he had disrespected the high priest.

3.      If he could not, then Jesus had spoken well.  Thus, He asks:  “Why smitest thou me?”

a.      This was a rebuke of a lower officer of the court.

b.      Jesus wanted it on record that He had done nothing amiss.  This man could not produce any evidence of wrong doing on Jesus part.

c.       The officer had acted improperly when he slapped Jesus.


C.     LESSON:  Often darkness could care less about the facts.  Darkness is on a mission to destroy.  Often it displays itself before it builds a full case against the opposition.




A.    Annas was probably glad that he was high priest in name only that day.

1.      He knew he was not going to get anything out of Jesus.

2.      He probably saw how high the emotions were running in the room when he saw Jesus slapped by on one of the officers.

3.      He may have also understood that many things were happening that were not according to the law and he wanted no part in the proceedings.


B.      So, he took the path of least resistance (John 18:24).


Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the highpriest.


1.      He was not going to release Jesus.

2.      But, he was not going to be the official responsible for this particular trial. 

3.      LESSON:  Some leaders have no problem “passing the buck.”  They would rather throw someone else under the bus rather than take personal responsibility for the matters at hand.