At the time of Jesus’ death, crucifixion was an incredibly cruel and humiliating form of execution. In this way, it made sense for Roman authorities to put more than one person to death at a time in order to save resources and deter public dissent.
So, who was crucified with Jesus? Alongside Jesus, two other men were crucified at Golgotha: a criminal by the name of Dismas and a revolutionary leader named Gestas. Both had committed serious crimes against the Romans and were seen as a threat that needed to be eliminated.
While few details are known about their lives, their presence beside Jesus during his final moments has left an indelible mark on history.
Why Were Gestas And Dismas Crucified?
At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, it was not uncommon for criminals to be punished by crucifixion. In fact, the Romans used this type of death penalty as a way to show their power and authority. Gestas and Dismas were two criminals hanging crucified alongside Jesus when he was executed on Calvary Hill in Jerusalem. Both men’s fates were sealed with ἀξίωμα (axioma), an ancient Greek word meaning “condemnation.”
Although it is believed that the two men, Gestas and Dismas, were guilty of some crime, there is no direct evidence or clear indication of what they did wrong. It is possible that they could have been involved in stealing from people or committing other crimes in order to survive. Nevertheless, it does appear strange that both men were given the same death sentence as an innocent man like Jesus.
The two criminals are often used as symbols of repentance by Christians. The Bible mentions that the passersby and chief priests asked Jesus for forgiveness before they died, and one even professed his faith in Jesus. This is seen as an example for all of us that it is never too late to turn to God and ask for forgiveness, no matter what sins we have committed.
How Did The Two Thieves React To The Presence Of Christ?
Two thieves were crucified next to Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left—both were convicted criminals. According to all four Gospels, when Jesus was arrested at Gethsemane, two robbers had been captured with him and brought before Pilate. The Gospel of Luke states that “two others also, who were criminals,” were placed next to Jesus for execution.
The Gospels tell us how these two criminals reacted differently to Christ’s presence during their crucifixion. The thief on the left railed against Jesus, blaspheming and mocking him. He said, “If thou art Christ, save yourself and us” (Luke 23:39).
In contrast, the good thief on the right rebuked his fellow robber and acknowledged Christ’s innocence, saying, “Do you not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we are indeed getting what is due to us. But this man has done nothing sinful” (Luke 23:40–41).
The good thief on the right confessed his sins and expressed faith that Jesus was going to be with him in paradise. This repentance shows us how essential it is to recognize our sinfulness before turning to Christ. He saw himself as a sinner and understood that salvation only came through Jesus’ love and sacrifice. The other thief’s continued insult of Jesus showed that he had no awareness of his own sins and was blinded by pride.
Lessons We Can Learn From Gestas And Dismas
The story of Gestas and Dismas (later known as Saint Dismas) offers a powerful example of the importance of contrition and repentance. As criminals crucified next to Jesus, they serve as a reminder that everyone equally needs God’s grace and mercy, regardless of their sins or wrongdoings.
Both men accepted Jesus’ offer for salvation before their deaths. However, only one received it. In this way, the lesson from Gestas and Saint Dismas is clear: no matter what we have done in the past, we are still worthy candidates for redemption if we turn to God with an open heart and humility.
In addition, other passages in scripture, such as 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, speak explicitly about how Christ died for our sins so that we may live in holiness and righteousness. By doing so, Christ demonstrated how we should respond to our own transgressions: with mercy and forgiveness. This is an important lesson that Gestas and Dismas also remind us of—forgiveness can be found through repentance and confession.
The Value Of The Thieves’ Story For Parents And Teachers
Parents and teachers can use this story to discuss topics like consequences, accountability, and responsibility with their kids or students. They can also talk about the power of redemption and grace in our lives, explaining that God is still there to forgive us no matter our mistakes.
This story can be used in various classrooms, from kindergarten to high school. It is a great way to introduce children to the Bible and its stories in a fun and engaging way. The criminals represent concepts like honesty, compassion, justice, and respect for others. Older students may be able to relate better to the story of the thieves and what they did wrong, allowing them to reflect on the consequences of their own actions when faced with difficult decisions.
The story of Gestas and Dismas provides an important lesson about redemption and grace that can be applied to our own lives to achieve eternal life. Saint Dismas is often referred to as “the good thief” because he acknowledged his guilt before Christ and asked for forgiveness.
He is now seen as a model of repentance and redemption, inspiring us to seek God’s mercy even in our darkest moments. This story is also valuable for parents and teachers who want to teach children about concepts like consequences, accountability, and mercy. Through this story, they can open up meaningful conversations with their kids or students about these topics in a fun and engaging way.