Annas was a High Priest in the New Testament, during the fifteenth year of Caesar’s reign. He was appointed High Priest in A.D. 7 by the Roman legate Quirinius. In a political move, however, he was deposed by Quirinius’ successor Valarius Gratis. By this time, the priesthood had degenerated into a political position, rather than the spiritual one established by God, and therefore no longer had the authority from God to carry out their work. It was no longer passed from father to son, but was given through political appointments which could end whenever someone fell out of favor with the current political leader. He was very wealthy, earning much of his wealth selling items used in temple sacrifices.Three years later, his son-in-law, Caiaphas, became a high priest.
Although Annas was no longer in political favor, he continued to be influencial, and, as dictated by custom, retained his title. This led to his interaction with Jesus Christ and his mentions in the New Testament. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke write that when Jesus was arrested, the Savior was taken before Caiaphas, but John notes that first, He was taken before Annas, despite the fact that Annas no longer served as the High Priest. However, by Jewish law, he should rightfully have been the Chief Priest at that time.
Jesus was taken to Annas, who slapped the Lord and then sent Him on to his son-in-law.
Annas, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and other kindred of the high priest met in Jerusalem to determine what to do about Peter and John, who had been arrested while preaching that it was through Jesus Christ that a certain man had been healed. The priests were afraid of retaliation from the people because the healed man had actually been there and so there was no doubt he had been healed. They decided merely to tell the two to stop preaching about Jesus, an order that was not obeyed.
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