Passion Profiles: Annas

The following is heavily informed by Pastor Dan Owen’s sermon ‘The Most Important Week In History‘ , 

Motivations for the players in the passion are very interesting to me. This is true, especially as an actor trying to bring the characters to life in context.

In the Rock Opera, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar‘,  Annas is one of the


antagonists of Christ,  second in command to Caiaphas the Roman installed Jewish High Priest,  installed in replacement of Annas himself fifteen years earlier. Interestingly Annas had also been installed by the Roman’s and was the father-in-law of Caiaphas.

In the rock opera,  Christ faces four trials, but in reality He had  five trials. The first one, ignored in the play, was with the  former High Priest  Annas,  because in the mind of the Jewish gaurds he still was the ‘real‘ High Priest.

12Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 

~John 18:12-13

In this trial, the innocent, Jesus is questioned and eventually struck for defending himself,  when asked about His statements,

19Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20“I have spoken openly to the world,”Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

22When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

23“If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. ~John 18:19-24

Interestingly,  in this single trial Annas, the religious man he was, is guilty of breaking four Jewish laws to prosecute Jesus.

1. No trial shall begin at night.
2. No trial shall begin and end in the same day.
3. No accused shall be asked incriminating questions.
4. No person may be struck until their guilt has been proven.

Not very High Priest like!

But then again, Annas was most likely dolling out a little street justice to Jesus.   You see, the Temple bazaar that Jesus cleared out earlier in the week,  was known as, ‘The bazaar of Annas‘.   That’s right the family business.   So no doubt Jesus cost Annas  and his family a tidy some of income.  Being that the going price for sacrificial animals at the bazaar was 18 times the going rate. The only thing I can kind of relate it too, is like buying a beer at major league ball game.   The old captive audience scheme!

Jesus statement, ‘you’ve made my temple a den of theives‘, is quite apprapo.

The hypocrisy is palpable!  Actual crimes,  being committed by those who seek to crucify the innocent Jesus.

Just another thing that makes me go,  ‘hmmmm‘, when contemplating Holy week.

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