Revelations from the Word

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The power to bind and to loose

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"And I say to you that you are Peter, and that on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against Her. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19).

"Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it shall be done for you by My Father in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there among them" (Matthew 18:18-20).

The Pharisees claimed to be the authority who had the power to forbid or to authorise, to bind or to loose in public and religious matters. But Jesus said of them, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses… They bind heavy burdens and put them on the shoulders of men, but they are not willing to move them with one of their fingers" (Matthew 23:2-4). He reproached them for suppressing the Word of God in favour of their Tradition (Matthew 15:6).

This is why, in addressing His disciples, Jesus establishes new rules concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church which was just being born. He conferred on them His authority to operate in the Church and in the Kingdom. The disciples therefore received the power to bind and to loose spiritually, that which was until then the prerogative of the Sanhedrin where the Pharisees sat. Through the parable about forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35), Jesus showed that by extending forgiveness to someone, that person is loosed, "The master let his servant go [apoluo] and cancelled his debt" (Matthew 18:27). The Greek verb apo-luo literally means to loose by separation, it comes from the verb luo that means to loose, to destroy, to break.

The apostle John explained that the Son of God had come to loose the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Your father is the devil" (John 8:44). In fact, Jesus delivered the woman bound by Satan for 18 years from her chain (Luke 13:16). By this act He broke the Sabbath, literally, and He loosed the Tradition of the Sabbath by healing a sick person on that day (John 5:18). By healing, He was putting Himself above the Sanhedrin; that is why the Pharisees who thought they were the authority established by God, were shocked when Jesus told them that it was He who was accomplishing God’s work in that way.