Biblical People

Biblical People: Annas

Annas is a priest, the father-in-law of another priest, Caiaphas. At various points they both serve as the high priest. As we read the narrative in the Bible, sometimes Annas is the high priest and other times Caiaphas is. 

Luke implies that the pair form an era of high-priesthood rule. Together they work as a leadership team that wields power when John the Baptist starts his ministry, exists when Jesus is executed, and is still around during the early church. 

In John’s biography of Jesus, he writes that after Jesus’s arrest, the mob drags him to stand before Annas, who is the high priest. After the officials abuse and mock Jesus, Annas sends Jesus to his son-in-law, Caiaphas.

John also identifies Caiaphas as the high priest at this point. This suggests they might have a co-reign in leading the Jewish religious institution and influencing the culture.

The final time we read of Annas is when Peter and John stand before the religious Council (the Sanhedrin). Again, Annas is the high priest. Caiaphas is there too, along with a couple other members of their family. Annas oversees the proceedings.

After Peter and John make their defense, which is really them sharing the good news about Jesus to the religious leaders, the Council doesn’t know what to do.

Under Annas’s leadership they command Peter and John to stop telling others about Jesus and issue threats if they do. However, the Council decides not to punish them because of the people’s astonishment over Peter’s healing of the disabled man.

Annas, along with his son-in-law, Caiaphas, wields control over the Jewish people and their faith. As leaders they could have embraced Jesus and his message. Instead they oppose it and try to squelch it. They abuse their power.

When we’re in charge of something, what do we do to make sure our decisions and actions align with God’s will?

[Discover more about Annas in Luke 3:1–2, John 18:12–14, John 18:24, and Acts 4:5–6.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at