On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (Jn 20:19-23)
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them.” It’s amazing to me how many will argue with this. It’s amazing to m how many actually quote Pharisees and Scribes, yelling blasphemy whenever a man, usually a pastor forgives sins. Immediately they say, only God can forgive sins. There is truth to that. But then that assumes God does forgives sins and then the question is, how? How does he forgive sins? By charging men with the task. That is what Jesus does here. He says he is sending the disciples our, he is actually apostling them. It means a little more than just a mere sending them. To apostle someone was to send them with a task, a duty. It gave them power of attorney for you, to speak for you, and on your behalf. Jesus follows up this apostling by telling them what he is sending them to do, namely forgive sins. This is what Jesus envisioned from the very beginning. Jesus wants nothing more than to forgive sins, to forgive your sins. So he has set aside men for the task. These men have shared that apostleship by setting up pastoral office, designating elders wherever they went so that this task could be carried out there, that the Ministry of Christ would not die with them but live with his church that is here for the forgiveness of sins. This is why he died. This is why he rose from the dead. So that your sins could be forgiven.