(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."--John 20:21-23Many will object and assert that here the only thing Jesus is doing here is telling the Apostles that they can now forgive their brother when their brother sins against them.
This reading, however, is highly problematic. Their interpretation requires them to add two words into the verse to make it sins done against the Apostles. Let's see how their interpretation would read in they added the words to the text:
"If you forgive the sins done against you of any their sins done against you have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins done against you of any, they have been retained." (Protestant understanding of John 20:23)The thing about this is that, if Christ wanted to say this He would have said this! Whenever the Bible speaks about sins done against God it simply says "sins against the LORD" or some variation of it, or simply says "sins" or some variation of sin like "trespass," "offend," etc. Now when they Bible says a person was harmed by another person it says someone "sinned against them", it always does so, so as to not confuse it with sinning against God. Here are a few examples:
But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.--Matthew 18:15Furthermore, why would Jesus have to breathe on them to have the ability to forgive the sins of their offenders? They were already said to have this ability in the Lord's Prayer, and Jesus said shortly after:
Then came Peter unto him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?-Matthew 18:22
And Ruben one of them, said: Did not I say to you: Do not sin against the boy: and you would not hear me? Behold his blood is required.--Genesis 42:22
"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."--Matthew 6:14-15It would seem if we were to follow the thought process no one had their sins forgiven since they did not have the Holy Spirit breathed on them.