(Anʹnas) [from Heb., meaning “Showing Favor; Gracious”].
Appointed high priest about 6 or 7 C.E. by Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria, and serving until about 15 C.E. (Lu 2:2) Annas was therefore high priest when Jesus, at the age of 12, amazed the rabbinic teachers at the temple. (Lu 2:42-49) Annas was removed as high priest by Procurator Valerius Gratus. Though he no longer had the official title, it was quite evident that he continued to exercise great power and influence as high priest emeritus and predominant voice of the Jewish hierarchy. Five of his sons, as well as his son-in-law Caiaphas, each held the office of high priest. Because of his prominent position, Annas is rightly designated in the Scriptures as one of the chief priests. (Mt 26:3; Lu 3:2) When Jesus was arrested, he was first taken to Annas for questioning and then was sent to Caiaphas for trial. (Joh 18:13) The name of Annas heads the list of the foremost opponents of the apostles of Jesus Christ.—Ac 4:6.
The wealthy and powerful house of Annas was of the tribe of Levi, and the sale of sacrifices within the temple grounds was one of their chief sources of income—reason enough why they sought to kill Jesus, who twice cleansed the temple, which they had made “a cave of robbers.” (Joh 2:13-16; Mt 21:12, 13; Mr 11:15-17; Lu 19:45, 46) An additional reason for Annas’ hatred of Jesus and his apostles was likely Jesus’ teaching of the resurrection, the raising of Lazarus in living proof, and the preaching and teaching of the same doctrine by the apostles, for if Annas was indeed a Sadducee, he did not believe in the resurrection.—Ac 23:8; compare 5:17.