Dismas watched the crowd beneath them. Their focus was not on him or Gestas, but the one in the middle. He glanced sideways at him and for the first time in his entire life felt compassion. The man’s body was covered in bruises; blood ran down over his face from the thorns on the crown. He was amazed that the man was still alive after the brutality of his beating the night before.
The crowd was getting restless. They had come here to see this so-called messiah, Jesus, crucified. They tasted and smelt blood. The roman soldiers egged them on. Many of the soldiers still intoxicated from the night before. They began to divide his clothing amongst themselves, casting dice. The people stood around staring at Jesus, some wondering amongst themselves, as to why he had not attempted to answer back or save himself.
For a man whom had made such an impression on people at the start of his ministry, he seemed pathetic at the end of it.
“Why doesn’t he call the angels down or something?” A few of them asked quietly. Many sneered at him, laughing at his inability to do something.
It puzzled them that a man, who had begun his ministry so powerfully, was unable to save himself at the end of his life.
Dismas looked down at some women and men; they seemed to be the family of Jesus. They stood apart from the rest of the crowd. The women were sobbing quietly; one in particular, looked as though her heart was breaking. He wondered how it had all come to this for Jesus. He knew how his own life had begun. Life had been unkind to him, both his parents had died while he was young; he had become involved with the wrong crowd. Now at the end of his life, he was paying the penalty for a life of crime. He also knew that he had made wrong choices.
Gestas, the other thief on the left of Jesus, began to mock Jesus as well.
“Are you not the Messiah?” He asked.
“Why do you not save yourself – or us for that matter?
What a pathetic man you are!”
“Where is your fear of God?” Dismas shouted.
“What has this man done to deserve this treatment? We are criminals, and deserve our punishment. This man has done no harm at all.”
Turning his face towards Jesus, he said. “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” For the first time ever Dismas had made the right choice. He felt a peace come over him that he had never experienced before.
Turning to look directly into Dismas’s face, Jesus said.
“This day you shall join me in paradise.”
“Yes, I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon! I’m bringing my payroll with me. I’ll pay all the people in full for their life’s work. I’m A to Z, the First and the Final, Beginning and Conclusion.” Rev. 22
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