#DailyDevotion Don’t Let Satan Steal Your Peace. You Pastor Has Authority To Forgive Your Sins.
Friday Easter 2
John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”
Once Jesus told a paralytic man his sins were forgiven. The Pharisees and Scribes had a fit because only God can forgive sins. Jesus said, so that you may know the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he told the man to pick up his mat and walk. The man picked up his mat and walked.
Many Christians, shooting themselves in the foot and denying the very words of Jesus here will say they don’t have to confess their sins to a pastor and/or the pastor doesn’t have authority to forgive sins. Well they are right on one account and wrong on another. True, you don’t ‘have’ to confess your sins to a pastor but you do ‘get’ to confess your sins to him and have you absolve you. Yes, the pastor does have authority to forgive sins. Satan just loves it when you don’t believe this.
Some may say only the apostles were able to do this. Do you thinks since Thomas wasn’t there he wasn’t included? Did only the baptisms of the apostles’ work? Did only the Lord’s Supper with the apostles work? Were only the apostles sent out into the world with the gospel? No indeed! Just as the word of blessing Jesus made upon creation and man in Genesis continue to this day Jesus’ word of authority to forgive sins continues to this day. Just as Jesus sends out missionaries through the Church to proclaim the Gospel, so too he gives us pastors through the Church to absolve the sins of penitent sinners and retain the sins of those who do not repent of their sins.
This is a wonder gift of peace Jesus left with the Church through the apostles. The peace he gave to them through the office of the keys is to be used, generously, so we may always have that comfort of the gospel. To hear, individually, our sins are forgiven with the full authority of the one who died for those sins and rose for our justification, brings peace to our hearts. Those words of forgiveness assure us the Father is at peace with us and we with him. They bring reconciliation between individuals and God.
Because Jesus has spoken these words we have the full assurance these words are true and are spoken with his authority. We need not doubt. Instead we should believe with all our hearts and rejoice in this gift of God and make use of it. Satan will deter you at every angles and point to keep you from this gift. He’ll use reason and doubt. He’ll use fellow Christians who doubt Jesus’ words. But you, Christian, doubt Satan instead and believe Jesus’ word and the word spoken by his authority of this forgiveness.
Blessed Jesus, you brought us peace through the forgiveness of sins and given us the gift of pastors through whom these words of peace are spoken. Grant us faith to believe your word of peace and help us to seek to hear your word of forgiveness through their mouths. In your blessed name we pray. Amen.