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Because of an ambiguity that sometimes occurs with the sighting of the new moon that marked the start of the month, on Wednesday evening of Passion Week Jesus celebrated the Passover a day earlier than the religious leaders in Jerusalem.  This providence of God allowed Him to both establish the Lord’s Supper with its greater meaning of salvation at the Passover He ate with His disciples and then die the next day as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world at the very time the religious leaders were sacrificing their Passover lambs.  For just as the Passover remembered the deliverance of God’s people from their bondage in Egypt, so would His death that the Lord’s Supper recalls deliver them from their greater bondage to sin.  At that meal Judas was dispatched to accomplish his purpose (Joh 13:27-30), perhaps deceived that he wasn’t really betraying Jesus, but helping to usher in the sort of kingdom all the disciples were mistakenly expecting.  Now, in the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was pressed for the oil of His Spirit through which would come the greater deliverance from sin, a mob sent by the Jewish leaders and led by Judas has seized Jesus.  Because His disciples had failed to keep watch with Him through prayer, they were not prepared to stand with Him, but “left Him and fled”, as He foretold they would, adding to His sufferings, but also leading the way for those who would follow Jesus in the way of the cross to continue to love unconditionally even though others prove themselves unworthy of such love; such is the love of God to which we are called; cf. 2Ti 4:16.  What does Matthew say happened next?  See Mat 26:57.  What is the significance to our salvation history rooted in the Passover that Jesus as the Lamb of God was led to the high priest?  See Deut 16:2; cf. Lev 17:3-4,8-9, Isa 53:7, Joh 11:49-50.

What additional detail does John note that is omitted by the other gospels?  See John 18:13.  Why does John in this verse say that He was led to Annas first?  Thus, although Caiaphas was technically the high priest, who was it that actually wielded the power of the office?  How does this help us to better understand the accuracy of Luke’s description in Luk 3:2 and Act 4:6?[1]  Consider too that Annas was “enormously wealthy” and “he and his family were proverbial for their rapacity and greed”, their wealth having come from “the sale of requisites for the temple sacrifices” so that “during the great feasts, they were able to extort high monopoly prices for theft goods” (ISBE).  I.e., through the power of their office as high priest Annas and his family were able to grossly enrich themselves by purchasing items required by the law for the sacrificial worship at “highway robbery” prices but then extract extortionary amounts to purchase them from the large numbers of worshipers who traveled from throughout the empire to appear before God (Exo 23:17, 34:23, Deut 16:16).  In what way would installing and empowering Annas and his family with such a lucrative enterprise have aided the Romans in controlling the population and extracting wealth from the nation?  Think: in spite of the enormous wealth acquired by Annas and his family, was it not but a fraction of the amounts that actually went to their Roman overlords, and hence just the most effective and efficient means to enrich themselves at the expense of those whom they subjugated?  Is that any different from the way more modern empires install and reward puppet leaders to exploit those whom they “liberate”?  How does this help us to better understand how big the tables of greed were that Jesus upset by His teaching and cleansing of the temple?  See Mat 21:12-13, Joh 11:48-50.

Although on a different scale, how was the greed that motivated Judas that the religious leaders were happy to satisfy to accomplish their purposes not unlike the greed of Annas and his family that the Romans were happy to satisfy to accomplish theirs?  In what way did the greed of which Annas and the other religious leaders were a part with the Romans dispose them to become a part of the greed that would lead to the Savior’s death?  Cf. Luk 22:5.  What does this teach us about how powerful a lure greed is for the world to entice people to further its agenda, and at the same time how dangerous it is to one’s soul?  Cf. 1Ti 6:9-10.  Again, is the use of greed by today’s worldly empires, or those who seek worldly gain, any different than it was then?

Where in particular does Luke say that they led Jesus after His arrest in the garden?  See Luk 22:54.  What would we expect the “house” of one of the richest and most powerful men in the nation to be like?  How does the subsequent narrative with its description of a fenced dwelling, gatekeeper, and a large courtyard in which slaves and officers were on duty even in the middle of the night confirm what we would imagine to be a palatial dwelling?  Cf. Joh 18:15-16,18, Mat 26:73.  Considering the nature of real estate, especially in a walled city, is it also possible that the house should not be thought of as just a personal home, but as the official residence of the high priest, akin to the White House in Washington D.C.?  Is it therefore also possible, and perhaps likely, that the estate was the local residence of both Annas and Caiaphas his son-in-law, or at least that they both had quarters there, so that especially during the annual festivals they were likely to both be found there?  See again Luk 3:2, 22:54.  Is there therefore any reason to suppose there is anything contradictory in the gospel accounts?

[1] Annas was appointed High Priest about 20 years earlier in 7 a.d. by the Roman governor Quirinius, but in 15 a.d. was stripped of the title by Valerius Gratus.  However, his influence continued through five of his sons who served in the office, as well as his son-in-law Caiaphas.  Hence, “owing to age, ability and force of character Annas was the virtual, though Caiaphas the titular, high priest.” (ISBE).

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