Some nineteen-hundred-and-seventy or so years ago today, the disciples of Jesus were still reeling from the events of the last week and a half. I imagine they were walking into things when they were paying attention because they were so stunned. When you consider all their hopes that had been dashed on the day of the crucifixion, and what had happened to them on the day of the resurrection of Jesus and their encounters with him on that day, they must have all been walking around in a fog for quite some time after that.
It would have been just a few days ago that they were all together. The doors were shut where they were assembled out of fear of the Jews. Jesus appeared and stood in the middle of them. He said:
[…] Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father has sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive you the Holy Spirit: Whosoever’s sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever’s sins you retain, they are retained.
That is a heavy commission and an enormous responsibility, to say the least. To understand it, we must begin by first looking at two other scriptures—the first in Matthew, chapter 16.