Is Confession Biblical?

Often enough the sacrament of confession is misunderstood by Non-Catholics and Catholics alike. Some people feel that confession to a priest is unnecessary when they can just pray to God, while others believe that confession is unbiblical, even going so far as to say that the Catholic Church invented confession several centuries after the time of Christ. Not only was the sacrament of confession believed and practiced by the Early Christians, confession was taught by Jesus himself in the Gospel.

In Mark 2:5-10 Jesus forgives the sins of a paralytic man. The scribes that were present were appalled by the fact that Jesus (whom they did not believe was God) would have the audacity to imply that he had the authority to forgive sins. Jesus confirms that he has the authority to forgive sins in Mark 2:10 when he says, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”. What does this have to do with confession to a priest you ask? In the Gospel of John, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, he gives the Apostles the authority to forgive sins. The words that Jesus uses in John are strikingly similar to those in Mark.

John 20:21-23 reads “(Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Just how Jesus revealed that he has authority to forgive sins in the Gospel of Mark, he now gives that authority to the Apostles. By bestowing the Holy Spirit upon them with his breath, the Apostles have now become instruments of God’s forgiveness.

So is Confession Biblical? Not only is confession biblical but it was instituted by the God-Man Jesus Christ himself 2,000 years ago.