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Verse 2. Annas {a} and Caiaphas being high-priests. There was, properly speaking, but one high-priest of the Jews; yet the name of high-priest continued to be given to those who had been in that office, and especially when they still possessed some civil office after they had left the high-priesthood. In this case it appears that Caiaphas was high-priest, and Annas had been, but had been dismissed from the office. It is highly probable that he still held an office under the Romans, and was perhaps president of the Sanhedrim. He is mentioned before Caiaphas because he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, and probably was the eldest, and had been longest in office. Instances similar to this may be found in Josephus.

There is one remark to be made here about the manner in which the gospels are written. They have every mark of openness and honesty. An impostor does not mention names, and times, and places particularly. If he did, it would be easy to ascertain that he was an impostor. But the sacred writers describe objects and men as if they were perfectly familiar with them. They never appear to be guarding themselves. They speak of things most minutely. If, therefore, they had been impostors, it would have been easy to detect them. If, for example, John did not begin to preach in the fifteenth year of Tiberius—if Philip was not tetrarch of Iturea—if Pontius Pilate was not governor of Judea, how easy would it have been to detect them in falsehood! Yet it was never done. Nay, we have evidence of that age, in Josephus, that these descriptions are strictly true; and, consequently, the gospels must have been written by men who were personally acquainted with what they wrote, who were not impostors, and who were honest men. If they were honest, then the Christian religion is true.

{a} Joh 11:49,51; 18:13; Ac 4:6

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