A Cry and a Veil

A Cry and a Veil

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

Matthew 27:50-51

The story of the cross is a story of anguish. It doesn’t try and hide the fact that Jesus suffered from beginning to end. It also makes it clear that Jesus was always in control. He could have saved himself. He could have stopped the pain. He could have given up. He didn’t.

Jesus gave up his spirit with a loud cry. He went as far as his earthly body could take him. He didn’t cut any corners. He followed his mission until the bitter end. He gave up his spirit willingly for all those yelling and cursing at him. He gave it up for the soldiers who nailed his hands and feet to the wood. He gave it up to the Pharisees and priests who cursed him. He gave it up from Adam until the last person born on this earth. He gave it up for you and me.

The world would never be the same after that moment and the earth physically showed us that. The earth quaked and rocks were split. Graves were opened but we’ll talk about that next week. The veil in the temple of God was ripped in two. The author makes sure to let us know that it was ripped from the top down- from heaven to earth. The veil that separated God from man was no longer needed now that the blood of Jesus was poured out. The veil that kept us separated from our creator was now gone. We could now see him more clearly through the life and sacrifice of his son.

12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

Because we are still here in this sinful world, we still don’t have a perfect view or vision. There is still much to learn and see about God but what a giant leap the cross was for us. For those willing to see, you can clearly see the love, patience and purpose of God. For those willing to gaze at the cross, you can see what God desires and offers to you.

We still might see dimly, but what is visible is enough for your salvation. Will you take the time to truly see what God was trying to show you of himself on that cross?

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

Elijah’s Return

Elijah’s Return

47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”

Matthew 27:47-49

It’s understandable why the people thought he was calling Elijah. Jesus had just finished saying ‘Eli, Eli…’ But Elijah was all the way back in the Old Testament. Why would they wonder if Elijah could come and save him? It’s actually a very important part of Judaism.

Every Passover, Jews open their doors and put an extra cup of wine at the table. The hope is that one day Elijah will come in and partake with them. Elijah’s return in seen as a sign of the Messiah’s return. It all comes from this scripture:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn, The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”

Malachi 4:5-6

Remember that the Bible says that Elijah never died but was taken up to heaven alive. That with Malachi created the idea that Elijah would return before the coming of the Messiah. That is also why John the Baptist is called Elijah by Jesus.

11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.

Matthew 11:11-14

Unfortunately all those waiting would never see Elijah come. They had missed the signs of what the Bible was really saying. Elijah came through John and the Messiah had come through Jesus but here they were watching their Messiah die on a cross without knowing it. May we not copy the same errors in our day. May we study and know what God is showing us.

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

Forsaken by God?

Forsaken by God?

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

This has always been the one single verse in the Bible that truly shocks and strikes me deeply in my heart. We know that Jesus didn’t play or act. We know that when he spoke, the words he used were the true thoughts and feelings or his heart. Jesus never lied. So when he yells out, questioning why his Heavenly Father had forsaken him, that was truly what Jesus was thinking and feeling.

In that moment, he neither felt God nor did he understand God’s actions or lack of actions in his life. How low did our creator get in this word of sin to have him reach this point? How much pain and agony was he in to yell out such words?
After doing everything right, Joseph found himself in a pit, then as a slave and finally in jail. After doing everything right, Daniel saw his country destroyed, found himself a slave to Babylon and finally in the lion’s den. After doing everything right, Paul found himself constantly running away, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, hungry, thirsty and finally imprisoned by Rome.

Although we will never know, thankfully so, the depths or pain that Jesus was in, we all do have our moments on our own spiritual crosses. We will all pass through painful moments when it feels like we are all alone- but we are not.

Joseph was never alone in that prison. Daniel was not alone with the lions. Paul was never alone in all his journeys. God was with them in that darkness just as he was with Jesus. And Jesus is with you too.

20 …and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:20

God bless
Pr Steven Couto



45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.

Matthew 27:45

This, for me, is the most difficult time of Jesus’ mission while here on earth. Jesus was with the Father and Spirit before anything was produced. Before anything was created, even before emptiness- before space itself or even time existed, the triune godhead existed without anything else existing. They were one in their existence. That unity continued when time and space began. When the universe and matter and energy were created by the voice of God, that divine unity continued. Even though they now could also have distinctive physical forms separate from each other in this newly created space, they were still of one mind and purpose. Their thoughts and voices, lived within their distinct beings.

Even when the fateful moment occurred that Jesus’ heavenly and godly form was transformed into a human group of cells that multiplied and grew into a baby and finally into a man, the spiritual connection with his Father continued. Whether preaching, healing, walking or laughing, the Father was there. All of Jesus’ miracles were done through his connection to the Spirit and God. One of the universal standards of God is the unity and connection that exists between them. That has always been and always will be- except for this one dark day…

For one day, and specifically for a few dark hours, God was not united and together. For a few dark hours, the universe and God himself was changed. Starting at Gethsemane and culminating to its horrendous peak at the hours of darkness, Jesus was left separated from his Father and from the Spirit. The ever present voice and presence of God was not in Jesus’ mind. For the first time in all of existence, Jesus felt completely alone and in the dark. Amazingly enough, it was at this moment that Jesus truly understood what it really meant to be a sinful human being. It was in these dark hours that Jesus’ heart was ever changed to give even more mercy and understanding to us fallen human beings. He knew how hard and painful it was to feel alone and lost. I believe that in these hours, Jesus became even more determined to free us from this horrible reality.

In truth, just like our existence, Jesus was not truly alone. According to all our senses, the darkness being a physical representation of what Jesus heart was feeling, it seemed and felt that Jesus was alone. He could neither feel, nor hear, nor sense the presence of his Father. How many times do we find ourselves in a similar situation?

But the reality was that God was right there. He was right behind that darkness focused and faithfully believing in his Son. He knew what Jesus was made of. He knew that Jesus would be victorious. He knew that his death would be the greatest victory of all of existence. But he also knew that Jesus had to do it seemingly alone. But he was with Jesus just as he is with us.

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

Between Sinners

Between Sinners

38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Matthew 27:38-40

Parents always warn their children about the company they keep. Here we see Jesus crucified between two sinners. He not only became a human being for us, but he also reduced himself to lowest among us. He could have been born in a palace. He could have been born to a king but that was not the plan. The only way to truly save us was to get to the very bottom. He did it for us.

But as if being crucified wasn’t bad enough, or between two robbers, those very people he was trying to save were not in awe of his sacrifice or thankful for his selfless act. No… Those he was trying to save were actually blaspheming him and mocking him. How hard must it have been to see them on the cross? There are very few humans, if any, who would remain there as he did having the power to get off and end it at any time.

41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the [k]scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

Matthew 27:41-44

The whole world was against Jesus. The scribes and religious leaders all mocked him, thinking they had won when really they had just condemned themselves with their actions. Even the robbers mocked Jesus. In another gospel we are told that one of them actually defended Jesus but even so. To have even one robber on a cross mock Jesus is ludicrous. He was dying the same death, feeling the same pain, but something inside of him still gave him strength to mock Jesus.

And Jesus just took it all. He knew why he was there. Our salvations was worth the pain and humiliation. That is the Jesus we worship and trust in. That is the Jesus who can strengthen us when we too are put in painful situations. Let us worship him for all that he did.

God bless,
Pr. Steven Couto

King of the Jews

King of the Jews

37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:


Matthew 27:37

What a title to be over Jesus when he died. In other gospels, the Jewish leaders tried to get that title changed. They wanted it to start with, ‘He said…’ or in other words, he is not our king but only claims to be. How true were their words. They had rejected their own creator, savior and king because they had developed a new understanding of the scriptures. They wanted a king that modeled their ideas and beliefs instead of modeling themselves after God. In doing this, their one chance at salvation and freedom was lost.

Is Jesus our king? Does our church model itself after what God wants and demands or do we mend the scriptures to agree with our ideals, beliefs and morals? Solomon said that there was nothing new under the sun. He knew that as a human race we are wired to repeat the same errors of the past. The Jews wanted to make their own God and today we must not follow in their example.

If Jesus is our king, what does that mean for our lives? As citizens of Canada, we have a Prime Minister instead of a King, though we still do have some connection to the British monarchy. As citizens of Canada, we are beholden to the laws of this land. We mold and shape our lives and possibilities based on those laws. They set guidelines and boundaries. They are in our lives everyday whether on the roads, in schools, work or even our own homes. The powers above us in this country are at least partly responsible for the ‘Canadian Culture’ that exists and makes us unique from other countries.

But if Jesus is our king, should that too not shape and guide us? Should Jesus’ laws not make a unique ‘Christian Culture’ in our lives? Sometimes we try and hide those characteristics. Sometimes we try and change them to suit our own tastes. I understand that we can have issues with temporal and human laws and governments but isn’t God’s laws different? Human governments are not perfect and therefore protests sometimes are needed as we see all over the world but isn’t God’s laws perfect? Should we really fight or protest them? Of course, there are many who will argue that we fight the human institutions, like churches, that shape those laws and there is a point there. But for your own personal life, when you read the Bible yourself and clearly see the Spirit guiding you in truth, should you fight that?

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

Divided Garments

Divided Garments

35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lot, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.” 36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there.

Matthew 27:32

Most scholars believe that the book of Matthew was directed towards the Jews of the day. This is because it quotes from the Old Testament more than others and also brings up many more prophesies about the coming Messiah. This is one such time where Matthew quotes from Psalm 22:18. Another reason that it is believed that this is pointing towards a Jewish audience is what Matthew does not quote from the same chapter:

16 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet; 17 I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. 18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

Psalm 22:16-18

That is but a small piece from the entire Psalm but it doesn’t put Israel in a good light. You could argue that this was talking about the Romans but the words ‘congregation of the wicked’ is hard to point at anyone but Israel.

At the same time, Matthew knew that the Jews would recognize the quoted verse. He knew that they would know the full text but it is better to have the listener wrestle with truths than simply giving it to them easily.

The image of dividing the garments, besides being an actual event, also has a spiritual significance. There are many of us who are more interested in what Jesus has than Jesus himself. Many people want Jesus’ salvation but not Jesus the savior and Lord. Many times we too are like a distant relative waiting for a person to die to inherit something valuable while paying little attention to the person who died. Let our Christianity be more than just dividing Jesus’ garments. Jesus is much more valuable that what he has, even his eternal life. That is because eternal life without Jesus would be a nightmare as this world clearly illustrates. Jesus should be our goal. What he promises us should only be the icing on the cake.

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

Fake Worship

Fake Worship

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Matthew 27:27-29

We were all guilty of Jesus’ death on the cross. All because we have all sinned and caused the need for a sacrifice. All because we carry the genetic sin of our earliest parents, Adam and Eve. All because it wasn’t just the Jewish and Roman leaders who were involved in the death of Christ but all sorts of people. Here we see soldiers, simple men with no religious stake in this matter and yet they still relished and actually enjoyed their role in the sacrifice. What they did was beyond their wimple duty as soldiers. With their minds filled with Satan’s thoughts, they paraded, mocked and hurt the creator of the universe. They mocked him as the King of the Jews not knowing he was so much more- the King of Everything.

30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

Matthew 27:30-31

When Jesus used his spit, he healed the blind. It was filled with power for good. Now he was being spit on in anger and disgust. They struck his head with a reed as if an animal not obeying its master. They stripped his clothes off and finally gave him a cross to carry to his own death. This is how we treated our maker. This is only a part of his suffering but he did it without complaining. How little we need to complain- especially to Him.

Jesus deserved better and still does today. When we sin, we put him back here in this story. When we, out of our own desires and weaknesses, reject something as sinful or downplay its sinfulness, we put him back in this situation. When we hate others, we put him back again. Jesus deserved better and still does today.

Let’s remember the sacrifice that Jesus was willing to go through for our sakes. Let’s have more discernment in our actions and words. Let try to be better. Jesus has already suffered enough and doesn’t deserve any more.

Let us worship Jesus with a humble, contrite heart. Let us not give him fake worship or we’re no better than those soldiers.

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

His Blood on Us

His Blood on Us

22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” 23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” 24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.”

Matthew 27:22-24

Pilate was in a difficult situation. He was holding a man that was obviously innocent and he tried to set him free but the Jewish leaders would not have it. No matter what he said, they demanded he be crucified. From the outside, you would think that Pilate was the one in charge and with the authority but he was actually powerless to the lies that the Jewish leaders could make. He knew very well that if they complained to Rome that Pilate was helping a man claiming to be the king that his own position and even life could be in jeopardy.

In the end Pilate just washed his hands of the matter. It was too much for him to figure out. He couldn’t find a compromise or better solution so he gave over to the loud voices opposing him.

25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Matthew 27:25-26

In the end, a bad man was released into the world and an innocent man was condemned to die. The most striking part of course of this story are the words of the Jewish leaders themselves. In a prophetic tone, they condemned themselves and their entire people. The death of innocent blood, of God’s Son no less, was now hungrily accepted by the Jews and history tells us just how high of a price those words ended up being.

When we only think about this world and the current moment, we can fall into the same error. When a person is starving they can do things that they never thought they could. When someone has no hope, morality often falls to the wayside. When you want something so badly, you can often be blinded by bad decisions.

Let us be wiser than this. Let our gaze be far reaching. Let us see the true goal that God has for us and not the daily ones we give ourselves.


God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto

Listen to Your Wife

Listen to Your Wife

19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do
with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” 20 But the
chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy
Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release
to you?” They said, “Barabbas!”

Matthew 27:19-21

I have spoken with many people going through divorce as a pastor. It’s never an easy
thing because of all the raw emotions that exist during something like that. One thing that I hear
many times however is:

‘My parents and friends tried to warn me but I just didn’t see what they were seeing.’

It is amazing how often we find ourselves blind to what is going on right in front of us.
How many Bible stories have you read where you just want to yell at the people and their
choices which are so obviously wrong? How many times does that happen with the people
around you? It so easy to see when it’s in others and yet so hard when it’s ourselves.

The Bible says in James 1:19,

19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

How much better could are lives be if we followed this rule. We should listen to those
around us. It doesn’t mean we’ll always do what they say, but we analyze their wisdom and
experience. Yes, we will still make mistakes, probably many, but we will also be saved many
times from the wisdom that God places in those around us.

However, we must also be wise with who exactly we listen to. Pilate chose to hear the
Jewish leaders, people who hated him, over his wife, someone who loved him. This is never a
good idea. We must surround ourselves with those who love us and want the best for us. We must
be surrounded by those who aren’t worried about telling it as-it-is even if it hurts. Our true
counselors will tell us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear.

God also speaks to us. The Bible is God’s word and it clearly tells us what is right and
wrong. Through its guidance, it can keep us safe from many downfalls. It is an ancient book but
one that has stood the test of time.

God bless,

Pr. Steven Couto