Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, "I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard." John 18:19-21 (TM)
Everything about Jesus arrest and interrogation stunk. Annas was the father-in-law of the high priest. He’d been high priest before his son-in-law, Caiaphas. Annas was the "godfather" of the religious leaders. Caiaphas may have had the title, but Annas wielded the power. Annas and his family stood to lose A LOT if the "Jesus issue" wasn’t dealt with.
Jesus knew this. He knew the law. By saying "I have spoken openly…my teachings are aboveboard" he was calling Annas to a legal point-of-order. It was against the law to hold a trial in the middle of the night – in the darkness. It was also inappropriate to question the accused without a quorum present (which they were hastily doing as Annas got the party started).
Jesus spoke truth and was rewarded with a slap on the face.
You know, while it’s easy to look down our noses at Annas and the boys, I have yet to be involved in a church where there wasn’t at least one Annas and his ilk. Power-brokers holding sway and pulling strings behind the scenes, ensuring that their wishes are carried out, their status is maintained, and their hold on power is not threatened. Sometimes this is the pastor, sometimes it’s a well-established family in the church or a business man who buys his influence with large donations.
As Michael Corleone said, "we’re part of the same hypocrisy." God help us.