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Dismas and Gestas


The Romans crucified two revolutionaries on both sides of the true revolutionary of God’s love, Jesus. During the time of the public ministry of Jesus, there were Jewish revolutionaries like Barabbas who fought against the Roman rule. Jesus’ crucifixion amid two wicked men was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:12, “he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.”

Bible does not give the names of the two rebels. However, they are known as Dismas and Gestas based on a non-canonical book, “The Gospel of Nicodemus” written in the fourth century. Dismas was considered as the good thief who asked Jesus to remember him in Christ’s kingdom and to which Jesus replied, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:42-43). Gestas had asked Jesus, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us” (Lk 23:39). The Catholic Church considers Dismas as a saint and celebrates his feast on March 25th.


The difference in the attitude of Dismas and Gestas, even at the end of their lives, is an example who people differ in their approach to Jesus. Repentance, along with salvation, is a gift of God. The response of Jesus to the request of Dismas gives us hope to approach him anytime in our lives for our salvation.

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