Today's verses are John 18:13,14: "First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.  It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people." My child, after my arrest around midnight, I was bound as a common criminal and marched to the home of Annas.  He was a former high priest who still held extraordinary power among the Jews.  In fact, under Roman governors, three wealthy priestly families controlled the extremely important position of high priest.

Annas was the patriarch of these three powerful families of high priests.  He himself had been a high priest for almost two decades.  Subsequently, this position was held by his sons and son-in-law, Caiaphas.  This nepotism allowed his family complete autonomy and authority from any objection regarding how they oversaw the temple.  Since Annas had been a high priest, he would always be able to retain this title.

I was first escorted to Annas, the former high priest, before going to Caiaphas, the present high priest.  Why?  It's because he hated me.  I had cleansed the temple of the money changers, not once, but twice!  I did it once at the beginning of my ministry. then again at the end.  He found me irreverent toward Jewish authority.  He thought me to be a rebel of the most insolent sorts.  He wanted me dead.

Therefore, I was taken into his presence around one in the morning.  He was waiting for me.  This suggests that Judas' betrayal was carefully orchestrated.  Annas wanted to see me after I'd been arrested.  He knew approximately when I'd arrive.  He wanted to quiz me.  He wanted to humiliate me.  Therefore, he was awake, dressed and ready to confront me.

After Annas, I'd go to Caiaphas.  Only he, as the present high priest, had the authority to pass judgment on me.

My friend John, in his writing, makes an interesting side note to all that is happening.  He notes that earlier Caiaphas had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for all the people.  He said this as my popularity grew.  He saw the threat I was becoming to his own power structure.

But he didn't realize the profound spiritual truth he was uttering.  It is better that one should die than the masses.  That's why I came to earth. That is why I put on human flesh. I gave my one life so the world would not perish, but have everlasting life.  I gave my one life so that everyone who believes in me could live forever.

My child, do you believe this?  Do you believe that I substituted my life for yours on the cross?  Do you believe that my cross should have been yours?  Do you believe that I died so that you would never have to die?  Do you believe that I love you so much that I gave my life for yours?

That is the heart the message of the gospel.  It is a free gift to you, received only by grace through faith, not of your works, or you'd boast about it forever!

I love you. It's proven on the cross.  Believe it's true!

You can trust me today.