John 18:13 - First they led Him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
Annas was the power behind the throne. He had been high priest himself, and after the Romans removed him from office, each of his five sons took a turn as high priest. So did one son-in-law—Caiaphas. Annas might have been out of power officially, but everyone knew who was pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Small wonder they brought Jesus to Annas first. And Annas started meddling—questioning Jesus, instead of leaving Him for Caiaphas, the official high priest that year, to deal with. What's worse, he chose to question Jesus rather than handling things in the proper legal way—producing witnesses who could testify to a crime. Nowadays we call this "going on a fishing expedition"—Annas was hoping Jesus would incriminate Himself.
Jesus pointed out the illegality. "I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them; they know what I said" (John 18:20-21). A nearby officer hit Jesus, saying, "Is that how You answer the high priest?"
Power versus powerlessness. But who was the powerful one? On the surface, it appears to be Annas. He has the office and authority (well, sort of). He is running the interrogation. He is the one who has guards to enforce his will.
And yet Annas can do nothing with all his power. Jesus refuses to cooperate. He is not afraid to point out the wrong Annas is committing. Even a blow doesn't change Jesus' mind. It merely gives Him another illegality to point out. Annas gives up and sends Jesus to Caiaphas.
These power games look familiar, don't they? The world we live in is full of power, much of it used wrongly and illegitimately. It's a scary time to be alive for many of us.
And yet, we don't need to be afraid. Our true High Priest, Jesus, is with us now, whenever we are in danger or need. Jesus watches over us with God's own authority and power, and nothing escapes His notice. No evil will be able to destroy us. Jesus will keep us in His care forever.
THE PRAYER: Father, thank You for protecting us from all the powers of evil in our world. Amen.
Have you ever been treated wrongly by those in power? How did it make you feel?
"Non-violent resistance" is another term for Jesus' behavior before Annas. Have you ever done this? If so, when?
How has God protected you when you were in danger from corrupt authorities (of any kind)?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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