So Jesus is taken to the High Priest, according to the Gospel of John Jesus was brought first before Annas:
“They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.”
So from what we know of Annas and other high priests of this period, we can reconstruct the scene without stretching our imaginations. Archaeological excavations conducted in the 1970s unearthed private homes belonging to the upper class of 2nd Temple Jerusalem, we know those residential homes were belonging to Jewish priests. These homes are today an archaeological site called ‘The Herodian Mansion’ and are open for the general public to visit, located in the Jewish quarter in Jerusalem.
What Was Found in Herodian Mansions?
So when Jesus Is Taken to the High Priest, the reception room was certainly furnished in a royal style. The floor was probably decorated with a captivating geometric-shaped mosaic floor; perhaps covered with rich rugs that covered the floor. Water cisterns were found integrated into the homes in order to collect rainfall, perhaps Jesus was thrown into one of them as temporary confinement.
Apparently, Annas was about sixty. The fact that Jesus brought to him first, before Jesus is taken to the High Priest; is an indication that the father-in-law, Annas, was the power behind the scenes, directing the proceedings against Jesus. Also in the Synoptics Gospels (Matthew, Luke, and Mark) Jesus is brought first before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin and then before Pontius Pilate.
Jesus Is Taken to the High Priest: Did Jesus Knew Annas?
Firstly, it’s quite likely that Jesus had seen Annas before Jesus Is taken to the High Priest. Annas was exercising his priestly functions at the Temple during one of the festivals. Important to realize, Annas was considered the greatest Jewish figure of his time. He was well known, he held the office of high priest from 6 to 15 C.E. Also, Five of his sons reached raised with the same dignity. The high priest reigning at this very time was his son-in-law, Caiaphas. Like most of the high priests of high rank at this time, Annas was a Sadducee. As a Sadducee, he was a skeptic whose vision was limited to the good things of this world. Here in front of Annas, in a few well-chosen words Jesus rejected the entire procedure:
“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why dost thou question me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; behold, these know what I have said.”
So when Jesus Is taken to the High Priest his answer is sharp and precise. If Jesus has done evil, the proper procedure is the calling of witnesses. Annas was looking for judicial shortcuts. He was trying to make Jesus bear witness against himself. Jesus rebuffed him, go get witnesses, he said in effect; and listen to what they have to say. Annas realizing this inquiry is going nowhere, made a quick decision to stop the proceedings. He gave orders that Jesus was led away to his son-in-law, Caiaphas, the reigning high priest.