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.
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.
Mankind is suffocated by his idolatry. If we want to breathe, to breathe again the Holy Spirit, it begins with repentance. It begins with sacrifice. It begins with worship.
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.
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.
Sexual immorality is a kind of evil that introduces corruption into a person and his community in a way that is deep and damaging like almost nothing else is.
If we read the parable of the Publican and Pharisee merely as a morality tale about being humble rather than prideful, we miss how it is placed in the larger narrative of the Scripture and all the revelation of God.