Jesus was being taken before the religious rulers for a trial. In this mockery of due process, before He was to be examined by the current high priest Caiaphas, there was to be a preliminary examination by a former high priest, Annas, Caiaphas’ father in law.
Annas was no unbiased judge; he had the reason of revenge against Jesus. You see, it is most probably Annas who was the one that had established the money-changing traffic within the temple courts. Remember the tables which Jesus had disrupted? So it is clear that this is not going to be a just trial. This extra examination is all just for a show of due diligence.
In fact, Caiaphas had already determined that Jesus must die (John 11:49-50). The high priest was a very important man, the religious, political, and judicial leader of the nation. Ordinarily the priests came from the tribe of Levi, and the high priest came from the family of Aaron, who held the office for his lifetime. But under Roman rule the high priest was appointed whenever the Roman ruler saw fit.
Still, Annas had been in a place of power for a long time. He had succeeded in arranging for the appointment of each of his five sons as the high priest, followed by his son-in-law, Caiaphas. He may have been behind the scenes, but make no mistake, he was still very much in power, especially to the Jews (Luke 3:2 / Acts 4:6).
We know that as Christians we will face pain, persecution and pressure. We also know that there are secretive, spiritual forces scheming against us. But the most important truth is that we can still stand firm, because behind our scenes is the Lord (Ephesians 6:11-13).