Did Jesus pass on the authority to forgive sins only to the Apostles or to any disciples present in John 20:19-23?

I need to know this because it makes a difference to a non-Catholic who thinks that this authority was passed on to any disciple present in John 20:19-23. A non-Catholic thinks that every christian has that authority today.

The text (at least the translation I have here - NRSVCE) speaks of “disciples” and not “apostles”. How can we know that Jesus gave this authority to the 12 alone? If he did not give it to the 12 alone, what difference would it make to the structure of the Church and to the means of receiving forgiveness through it?

Thank you so much! God bless you all at Catholic Answers.

In the Gospel of John, the word disciple is used interchangeably to refer to either the Twelve or other disciples. So in determining who is present we need to rely on the context of the verse. In all the other Gospels Jesus appears after his resurrection to the apostles after telling Mary Magdalene to go and tell the disciples that He is risen. It is in that appearance to the apostles that Jesus gives the great commission. John’s Gospel while differing in the details, essentially gives the same account. It would be unreasonable to assume that John is saying something completely different from the other 3 Gospels.

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