If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering. (Leviticus 4:3)
Something very important is revealed in this verse — the sins of a leader filter down and affects the people under his authority. This is especially true in the case of God’s people; if the priest had committed a sin it would affect the entire congregation of Israel and things had to be properly set in order. Failing to do so could have — and probably would have — negative consequences for the nation.
An example of this scenario is found in the days of Samuel when Eli was the “anointed priest” (i.e. the High Priest). Because of his neglect of spiritual matters, his sons, Hophni and Pinchas, began to commit atrocities in the Sanctuary which resulted in a general spiritual decline in the nation.
This same concept is inferred when, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest had to make atonement for himself before he could properly represent the people before God. In short, if he was tainted with unacknowledged sin, the people would be tainted by their sins as well. On the other hand, if he was guiltless before God, the Almighty would look with favor upon the rest of the nation because, in a sense, the anointed priest (in Hebrew, כחן המשיח Cohen Ha’Mashiach) bore the sins of the people before God.
This concept is designed, of course, to point us to our heavenly High Priest – our Mashiach, Yeshua — who knew no sin, and yet, became sin for us. However, sin is not what we inherit from Him; it is His righteousness that we benefit from. His sacrifice amounted to paying the price for our sins and, in His righteousness, He represents us before the Father, who now looks upon us with forgiveness and favor. It seems fitting, then, to conclude our devotion today with thanksgiving for our heavenly High Priest and to meditate upon these words from Hebrews.
“Messiah came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11-12)
Blessings and Shalom,