Did the 12 forgive sins before Jesus death?


I guess the title ask the question:

Did the 12 disciples forgive sins before Jesus death?

is it in the gospels?


How could they have? Christ was the physical Trinity. The head of heaven and earth on earth… And his death had not happened yet to atone for the sins.

I would think the Jewish view of sacrifice of animals for sins would come into play here.


I think they did. Peter asked the Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother? 70x7 says Jesus… I’m quoting loosely… So I think they began to forgive as soon as HE told them that! Maybe not in a confessional box…


In Matthew Chapter 10, Jesus tells the twelve to go out and cast out demons and heal people. I wonder (don’t know for sure) if forgiveness of sins was part of the healing as confession is considered a sacrament of healing.


I think it’s written on your heart when you commit offenses and it just comes out as in a confession if someone is compassionate enough to listen. I think that’s what Jesus was teaching the apostles. not to be scandalized by human frailties but be compassionate and forgiving as God the Father is forgiving… and yes they took it right to heart and tried to practice what he told them…


I’m pretty sure this is talking about forgiving one another for trespasses but not necessarily sins in general.

John 20:19-23

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit**. 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”**

The above is when I believe Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins and it was after the resurrection.


I know Jesus gave them authority and the authority to forgive sins (as they are released from the sin) I know that my priest can forgive me of my sins. But as Mark 6:7 talks about sending them out 2by2 to do works…I wonder if they forgave sins as well… :shrug:


I think it is important to distinguish what we are talking about here. Are we talking about forgiving offenses to one another? Jesus did not make that a “new” teaching. He only enforced the teacher and made it stronger. 7 times was already the scriptural norm. Now, if we are talking about the forgiveness of sins for others thereby making them worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, that is the commission of the Church. A Church which was not born yet. Binding an Loosing comes after these teachings. And redemption comes at the Cross. The sacrifice of the Lamb comes at a specific moment in time. That sacrifice is for all mankind. Sins were forgiven by animal sacrifice doves, cattle, lambs, goats etc. But ultimately the sins being forgiven and forgotten opening the gates of heaven that were closed at the original sin of Adam and Eve. It was the sacrifice of God’s son that atoned for our sins. So, a hypothetical person who the apostles “forgave” before Jesus redeemed us would still have gone to “Sheol” And after His Crucifixion and Death Jesus would have descended to them and redeemed them. So it really matters what we mean by “forgive sins” I would say the apostles did not have binding and loosing power until after the Church was Born, for it is through Peter as the Vicar of Christ that this is Authoritative.

It is important to remember that as Catholics, Easter and the Triduum is our greatest remembrance. It surpasses even the incarnation of Christmas. The reason for this, the reason for Jesus on our Crosses around our necks, in our churches and in our hearts is the forgiveness of sins. Not just to make peace with our neighbor, but to save our souls from hell. That is the meaning of the Mass, of confession, and of the Crucifixion.


They forgave one another. But, that doesn’t mean that they ‘forgave sins’ – that’s a divine prerogative. If you smacked me upside the head, and I say “I forgive you”, that doesn’t imply that your sin is forgiven by God – just that I don’t hold it against you. You still have the fact that every trespass is a trespass not only against persons, but against God as well.

So, even though the apostles forgave others, it doesn’t mean that they had the authority to absolve sins on behalf of God – that is, not until Jesus gave them that authority following His resurrection.

[quote=hiramross]But as Mark 6:7 talks about sending them out 2by2 to do works…I wonder if they forgave sins as well…

Jesus never said that they had that authority. The fact that He did it, Himself, doesn’t mean that they were able to do it, without His permission, and we don’t see that at all.


Christ was not the “physical Trinity.” He is the second person of the Trinity. But he is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit. And Christ, being God, is outside of time. Therefore, even if his atoning death hadn’t happened yet in time, its effects could still be experienced. This is how Our Lady was immaculately conceived.



Ok. that is a small point. Can you apply it to the larger subject?


The Trinity is not a small point. The definitions are important.

Also, Jesus breathes on the Apostles to give them the power to forgive sins in John 20. This happened after the Resurrection anyway. But given the fact that he is not bound by time, neither is his death. The effects thereof could be applied at any point in history God so willed. Mary received the effects of this atonement even before she was born, at the moment of her conception. If she was not delivered from original sin by Jesus’ atoning death, what did it then? And so also this could be applied to the Apostles, if we perhaps had some indication that they were forgiving sins before John 20.



Time indeed has some bearing on the issue. Jesus did descend to open the gates of heaven to those that had gone before. This was a specific moment in time. That is Catholic teaching. Saying time has no bearing makes no sense. A specific point in salvation history was chosen. Apostles do not have retroactive power and the power was indeed given to bind and loose along with keys at a certain point. but that "Church did not have an existence until it was “born”

I am not understanding your point. Are you arguing that the powers of the Church apply retroactively?


Hoosier Daddy,
I want to thank you for your response. I was so wrong. I just said the first thing on my mind and you are right. There is a definite commission to the church to forgive sins after the Resurrection of Our Lord! --one he gave for our salvation. I have been schooled! and that’s why I’m so grateful for CAF!!!


I see my error… :thumbsup:


You have not been schooled. You helped fuel a discussion that caused me to reflect and think about this subject. You participated in the spiritual enrichment of my own thoughts. It is I who should thank you.


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