We celebrate the Easter Season that Jesus has conquered sin through His humble passion and death, and that He rose from the dead to give us life and freedom from sin. Let us celebrate by greeting one another with Happy Easter through Pentecost.
Today is Divine Mercy Sunday when we celebrate that God grants His Divine Mercy to us by the forgiveness of sin. The Gospel reading from John tells the familiar story of doubting Thomas. But in the meeting that Thomas missed, Jesus breathed on the Apostles giving them the Holy Spirit and then the mandate to judge the forgiveness of sin. That’s totally awesome because only God forgives sin, but Jesus gave the authority to men to pronounce, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that individual sins are forgiven.
God gives that authority to man in the ministerial priesthood of the New Covenant, which replaces the priesthood of the Old Covenant. Leviticus Chapters 4-6 tell about the sin offerings proscribed for the forgiveness of individual sins and for the sins of Israel. The sins were forgiven through the ministry of the priests.
These sin offerings were satisfied and fulfilled by the sacrifice of Jesus, our High Priest. But the ministry of proclaiming sin forgiven was given to the Apostles so that we as individuals could know our sins are forgiven. That is God’s awesome care for us, that he knows us and knows how we need to be ministered.
Just as significantly, Jesus gives the authority to hold sins retained in the same breath as proclaiming forgiveness. Why? Isn’t Jesus all about forgiveness of sin and freedom? Yes.
Repentance and the desire to turn from sin to freedom is necessary for forgiveness. John tells of Jesus healing the paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus is going to heal the man but asks, “Do you want to be healed?” We respond, “duh! who doesn’t want to be healed?” But then consider your own situation. Do you want be healed and leave sin behind? Or are your sins comfortable? Or maybe too hard to quit?
To desire forgiveness and desire to remain in sin is contradictory. Jesus is the Truth. The woman caught in adultery was told, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, from now on do not sin anymore.” John 8:11.
Jesus understands our weakness. He wants us to live in true freedom. The ministry Jesus established is very merciful so don’t be afraid of confessing your sins. It’s the first step toward not sinning anymore and living in freedom.