The cosmic war between God and His enemies the fallen angels is going on all around us and even within us. And we have been given the Cross, the very Staff of God, as a weapon against the demons.
However you want to understand why there are demons on the earth even now, it is true that they are real and they are present. It is true that the suffering of this world is closely associated with their activity.
With the calling of these disciples, Christ is building His army. Later in the Gospels, we will see Jesus’ disciples doing what He does in the very next passage after this one—casting out demons, calling people to repentance. And this is not only His army but also His government.
Whatever good that we see, whatever love that we receive, whatever grace has been given, no matter where or in whom or through whom—these are all from Jesus Christ.
I’ve had more than one person say to me over the past couple weeks: “With Pascha here, I feel like COVID-19 should be over.” Shouldn’t this thing be over now? Christ is risen, you know.
At the end of time, when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride forth, bringing famine, pestilence, war and death upon mankind, God will send forth His holy ones to match them and to overcome them.
The argument against iconography breaks down because those who reject icons do not understand what idolatrous images were actually used for. They were not merely religious art. They are a kind of religious technology designed to trap and control a god.
When the gospel began to be preached, forgiveness from God was a revelation, something new that was outside of anyone’s expectation of how a god should operate.