By Rev Bill Woods
Proverbs 29:2 — When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
There’s a lot of groaning going on in our world today.
- The Bible says that God puts into authority those who He selects to rule.
- We know that God will either give us what we need or what we deserve.
Throughout the Bible God used government to reward or punish His people depending on their obedience to Him or rebellion against Him.
- It’s time for our Nation to repent and come back to God!
Today I want to consider a wicked ruler of the people and the consequences he reaped by his actions.
- For a while he thought he was in control enjoying such luscious power, but the day came when he realized there is a much higher Power that he’d have to give an accounting to.
I’m referring to Annas, the High Priest “Religious Superman” in the time of Christ.
Old Annas thought he had it all put together!
- He had everything his old heart desired — power, wealth, fame, and prestige.
- What he had in his day could be compared to a politician in what’s being called the “Deep Swamp” today, or a Mafia Boss or a Cartel Drug Lord today.
Annas was everything Christ came to destroy!
- Annas was the power that ran Jerusalem!
- He held the highest position of his race.
- He was the political overlord of Jerusalem — WHAT HE SAID, WENT!
- Annas was the religious and political superman of the Jewish people.
Annas was the power behind the politics.
- He was the power behind the economy.
His home was in Jerusalem where the Temple was.
He’d been able to bribe and use his influence to become High Priest.
- The Jews didn’t want him there, but Rome did!
- He was appointed to the High Priesthood about A.D. 6 by Quirinius, Governor of Syria.
- He was deposed in A.D. 15.
Annas was the man whose fingers were in all social pies — whose hand grasped the most luscious political plums.
- Whose scheming mind carefully planned every evil course taken by the religious elite in Jesus’ day.
Annas was the man who inspired and ordered Jesus to be harassed and embarrassed in front of the multitudes.
- The problem was, his plans usually failed and Jesus would win the debates.
- The people loved to see these intellectual exchanges.
Annas was dethroned as a religious leader because he overstepped his bounds with Rome once too often.
- Actually, that didn’t discourage Annas.
- He’d still run his little empire!
- He was replaced by another man whom Rome appointed.
But Annas would not be set aside that easily or quickly.
- There was money, power, and prestige in the Office of High Priest!
- He wanted it all!
The High Priest was the most powerful Jew in the land and Annas intended to keep that power and all the perks that came with it!
While he was still High Priest, Annas insured his position of power.
- He set up his political fences with care and shrewdness.
- He put his henchmen in all the key positions until he was able to control the Jewish Religious life and gather the Religious taxes.
He knew that someday he’d probably overstep his authority and make somebody mad.
- He also knew he’d never lose his power if he played his cards right.
When the day came, he stepped down as High Priest, but he never released the power he’d gained.
- The new High Priest lasted less than a year.
When he was ousted from his position, Annas maneuvered his oldest son into the position.
- Annas was still in full control!
In fact, Annas was able to put 5 of his sons in this key position.
- They served their daddy like puppets on a string.
When his 5th son was finally removed from office, He managed to open the position up for his son-in-law, Joseph Caiaphas — the Caiaphas of the Bible.
For 16 years after losing his office, Annas had control of the position of High Priest.
- The people looked to him as the actual High Priest.
- WHAT POWER! WHAT WONDERFUL POWER!
Probably the first time Annas heard of Jesus was when Jesus was 12 years old.
- Jesus had gone to the Temple and had amazed some of the Temple Priests with His Wisdom and Understanding of the Scriptures.
41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.
42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual.
43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first,
44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there.
46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions.
47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.
51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
Annas was probably informed of this child prodigy.
Nothing more was heard about this carpenter’s son for a long time after that.
Then one day a rugged, loud-mouthed, uncivilized, uncouth fellow by the name of John (the people called him John the Baptist) began to preach in the wilderness and denounce the corruptness and unrighteousness of the Jewish people and their religious leaders.
Annas didn’t like what John was saying!
- Who did this long-haired, loud-mouthed unkept, smelly man in animal skins think he was?
He was criticizing Annas’ little empire and calling it corrupt — he was stirring the people against all that Annas and his crowd stood for!
- Annas was the power behind the High Priest’s throne!
- He’d do something about this!
- His word was law, his schemes were commands, his plans called for action!
Annas would settle things with this fellow — John would know he’d tangled with Annas!
The ultimate insult came one day when Annas was listening to John rant and rave — trying to catch him in some legal or religious mistake so he could have him arrested — when suddenly Jesus showed up.
- John immediately began proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah — THE SON OF GOD!
- Then John baptized Jesus!
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.
14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.
17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
After having heard John’s challenging message calling men to repentance, the people were ready to accept this Jesus for whom He said He was — THE SON OF GOD!
Annas didn’t know how John and Jesus pulled that dove and voice thing off, but he did know that his authority as head of the Religious World was under attack.
- He’d have to put a stop to this right now!
The day Annas actually master-minded Jesus’ death was when Christ tore into his plans for turning the Temple into his private money mart.
13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem.
14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money.
15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables.
16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”
When Jesus drove the money-changers, the sellers, buyers, and all the animals from the Temple, He’d gone too far!
- Annas’ greedy heart couldn’t take anymore!
He made up his mind, JESUS WAS GOING TO DIE FOR THAT!
Annas was like most of our society — if you really want to hurt them, hit their pocketbook!
Annas heard many of Jesus’ sermons and saw His miracles.
- Annas might’ve wondered secretly if Jesus might really be The Son of God just like He claimed — but wealth and power had gotten such a grip on him that even God would have to step down for him………….
There was no room in the earthly kingdom Annas had built for God or love or anyone else!
- To Annas, SELF WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT GOD!
- Self was all he had room for!
- “A man all wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package.”
With his power, he put the machinery in motion that would eventually take this man who called Himself, “GOD” to the cross!
The hands that crucified Jesus might’ve belonged to Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, the Romans and others, but it was Annas’ backing those hands that nailed Jesus to the Cross.
- The mob would cry, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” – but behind the blood-thirsty voices you’d find Annas pushing and adding fuel to the excitement until finally the decision was made to nail Jesus to the tree.
The hammer strokes might’ve been those of the soldiers, but it was Annas who actually held the hammer.
- What music it must’ve been to his ears then to rid himself of this fly in his ointment!
- — WHAT TORMENT THE MEMORIES MUST BE NOW!
Annas wanted it to appear that he was playing a minor role in the hideous death, but he master-minded it all.
- He had so much recognized power in what happened that Jesus was brought to him first after His arrest instead of being taken to Caiaphas, the actual High Priest.
12 So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up.
13 First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.
14 Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.”
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus.
16 Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in.
17 The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.”
18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.
19 Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them.
20 Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret.
21 Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.”
22 Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?”
24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.
Annas didn’t want it to look like everything had been planned so he tried to ask Jesus some questions about His Doctrines and His teachings.
- Jesus saw right through him.
- Jesus answered, “I have taught openly.”
Annas laughed gleefully when a soldier slapped Jesus in the mouth for His disrespect of the High Priest.
Annas finally gave the nod that sent Jesus to Caiaphas, then to Pilate, then to Herod, and back to Pilate, and finally to the Cross.
- Annas signed Christ’s death warrant as much as any man did.
Poor Pilate was caught as a pawn in a huge game of power………………..
Annas was there to see cowardly Judas bring the 30 measly pieces of silver back to the Temple.
- All the priests laughed at the misery that scumbag was going through…………….
- Satan always laughs at us when sin has run its course!……….
Annas thought he’d won! This pest wouldn’t threaten his kingdom anymore!
- Oh the sweet taste of power and revenge!
Then, 3 days later reports came that Jesus Christ was not dead, but alive!
Annas would not — COULD NOT — stand for that!
- He put out the report that Jesus’ disciples had stolen the body……….
- He bribed the soldiers to lie!……….
That was over 2000 years ago.
- The pride and godless ambition of Annas took him to Hell.
- For 2000 years he has been tormented with what he did to Christ!
- You probably think, “WHAT A WICKED MAN! IT SERVES HIM RIGHT TO BE IN HELL!”
Wait! Before you pass judgment on Annas for being so wicked, you’d better look inside yourself!
- How can you blame him if you’re putting yourself and your plans ahead of God?………….
Aren’t you as guilty as he was when you crowd Jesus out of your life?
If Annas could do it over again, I imagine he’d act differently.
- He’d probably be more open to God.
- He’d probably pray more and search the scriptures more……………
- I imagine he’d think less of himself and more of God.
- Put down your foolish pride and egotism which won’t mean a thing in Hell!
Annas would want to serve God in any way he could……………
He’d be more loving and kind to others and never stir up trouble with his tongue!
If he had it to do over again, he’d not end up in Hell! HE WOULDN’T!
I believe the current politicians that are running rough-shod over America today will someday have the same regrets!
My thought is that I can’t reach them but I can warn you!
LEARN A LESSON! — AT ANY COST, DON’T YOU GO TO HELL!
GOD HAS PROVIDED A WAY FOR YOU TO ESCAPE WHAT ANNAS IS HOPELESSLY FACING FOREVER!
PODCAST THE HIGH PRIEST WHO HATED JESUS!
The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.