Apologetics for Confession

In discussing Confession with someone of a different faith, I mentioned that the Sacrament of Confession was founded by Jesus in John 20:19 and following. Their response was that anyone could do Confession, not just priests because in that passage, Jesus was speaking to the “disciples” not the “apostles.” I looked it up to make sure, and sure enough, it says “disciples.” I’ve always been taught that Jesus was talking only to the Apostles. How do we square this passage? If I recall properly, “disciples” means “followers” while “apostles” means “those who are sent.” I don’t think they were used as official “titles” back then like we seem to do now.The only thing I can imagine, right offhand, is that all apostles are disciples, but not all disciples are apostles, and John was really referring to apostles, but just used the general term disciples.

Any thoughts?

[quote=Scoobyshme]In discussing Confession with someone of a different faith, I mentioned that the Sacrament of Confession was founded by Jesus in John 20:19 and following. Their response was that anyone could do Confession, not just priests because in that passage, Jesus was speaking to the “disciples” not the “apostles.” I looked it up to make sure, and sure enough, it says “disciples.” I’ve always been taught that Jesus was talking only to the Apostles. How do we square this passage? If I recall properly, “disciples” means “followers” while “apostles” means “those who are sent.” I don’t think they were used as official “titles” back then like we seem to do now.The only thing I can imagine, right offhand, is that all apostles are disciples, but not all disciples are apostles, and John was really referring to apostles, but just used the general term disciples.

Any thoughts?
[/quote]

According to my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance (admittedly on the King James Version), the word “apostles” does not appear in John’s gospel at all. I would say, then, that if John used the word “disciple” it could easily have been restricted to one of the Twelve.

  • Liberian

Apostles are disciples so I agree with the above.

1] And he called to him his** TWELVE DISCIPLES **and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.
2] The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb’edee, and John his brother;
3] Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
4] Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Matt.20

[list=1]
]17] And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the* twelve disciples** aside, and on the way he said to them,
[/list]

These commentaries are oddly enough from the New American Bible about John 20:11-16:

"11 [19-29] The appearances to the disciples, without or with Thomas (cf John 11:16; 14:5), have rough parallels in the other gospels only for John 20:19-23; cf Luke 24:36-39; Mark 16:14-18.

12 [19] The disciples: by implication from John 20:24 this means ten of the Twelve, presumably in Jerusalem. Peace be with you: although this could be an ordinary greeting, John intends here to echo John 14:27. The theme of rejoicing in John 20:20 echoes John 16:22.

13 [20] Hands and . . . side: Luke 24:39-40 mentions “hands and feet,” based on Psalm 22:17.

14 [21] By means of this sending, the Eleven were made apostles, that is, “those sent” (cf John 17:18), though John does not use the noun in reference to them (see the note on John 13:16). A solemn mission or “sending” is also the subject of the post-resurrection appearances to the Eleven in Matthew 28:19; Luke 24:47; Mark 16:15.

15 [22] This action recalls Genesis 2:7, where God breathed on the first man and gave him life; just as Adam’s life came from God, so now the disciples’ new spiritual life comes from Jesus. Cf also the revivification of the dry bones in Ezekial 37. This is the author’s version of Pentecost. Cf also the note on John 19:30.

16 [23] The Council of Trent defined that this power to forgive sins is exercised in the sacrament of penance. See Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18."

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