Daily Thought for: 28th October

ANNAS AND CAIAPHAS (1)

Luke 3. 2; Luke 19. 45-48; John 11. 47-52

Annas and Caiaphas are regularly linked together in the New Testament. Effectively they functioned together as high priests between the start of the ministry of John the Baptist and the early Church. They were the chief plotters against the Lord Jesus and He was arraigned before them in His religious trial. 

Annas had been high priest from 6-15 AD when he was deposed by the Romans. He remained very influential, and is still termed ‘the high priest’ in John’s account of the trial of Jesus and by Luke in the Acts. He was succeeded in office by five of his sons and by his son-in-law, Caiaphas, who was high priest between 18 and 37 AD. Annas was ‘the power behind the throne’, wielding influence through his family. 

These men were Sadducees, denying the supernatural. Secular history tells us that Annas had acquired massive wealth from the trade in sacrificial animals. They exerted tremendous power over the people. Thus they saw the ministry of Jesus as a threat. Even Pilate realised that envy lay behind their actions against the Lord, Mark 15. 10. They wanted to have Jesus deprived of His influence over the people, for it represented an authority which displaced theirs. Their ire was really aroused when the Lord cleansed the temple of its traders. This threatened not only their power but their wealth. Envy controlled them to the degree that they were determined to have Jesus out of the way at all costs. As events proved, they were willing to stoop to anything to get rid of Him. Envy is an awful vice, and who is able to stand before it?, compare Prov. 27. 4. 

Caiaphas especially was politically astute. Speaking to the Sanhedrin, he dressed up the plan to destroy Christ as political expediency. One man’s death would save the nation. In a far deeper sense, his words were true as a prophecy from God. The speech was given in the face of the raising of Lazarus. That sign had only hardened Caiaphas against Jesus. 

Annas and Caiaphas were utterly dead to spiritual realities. Their only concern was position and prestige. High religious office is no guarantee of divine life. 

 

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