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Penitent thief-Dismas

Penitent thief/Dismas

The Petinent Thief, commonly identified to as Dismas or the Good Thief, is a prominent character in the Bible, particularly in the account of Jesus' crucifixion. His narrative stands as a profoundly touching and impactful illustration of forgiveness and redemption within Christian teachings. While little is revealed about his life prior to being crucified alongside Jesus, the profound events that unfolded during their final moments have indelibly shaped Christian beliefs concerning repentance, grace, and salvation.

His story can be mainly found in the Gospel of Luke within the New Testament. During the crucifixion of Jesus, two thieves were also being executed alongside him. Crucifixion was a widely used and excruciating method of punishment for criminals during that era. Dismas, along with another man, was hanging on crosses on either side of Jesus.



At first, the two thieves, just like the rest of the crowd, ridiculed Jesus. They failed to grasp the true essence of Jesus. But as days went by, Dismas experienced a transformation. He started to perceive Jesus in a new light. Unlike themselves, Jesus had committed no wrongdoing that warranted such a cruel fate. Despite his agony, Jesus remained composed, compassionate, and continued to show concern for others.

Dismas experienced a profound transformation upon witnessing this sight. It dawned on him that he had led a life filled with wrongdoing and now faced the consequences he rightfully deserved. However, Jesus, in stark contrast, was blameless. With a surge of courage, Dismas stepped forward to defend Jesus, addressing the other thief and acknowledging that they were receiving just punishment for their crimes, while Jesus remained innocent. This pivotal moment holds immense significance as it signifies Dismas' comprehension of his past misdeeds and his genuine remorse. It epitomizes the essence of repentance – the realization and heartfelt regret for one's wrongful actions.

The Promise of Jesus[]

Then, Dismas turned to Jesus and asked him, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom"[1]. This simple request showed that Dismas believed in Jesus and his teachings. He believed that Jesus had a kingdom and that Jesus was kind and powerful enough to remember him even after death.

Jesus' response to Dismas is one of the most hopeful and important parts of this story. Jesus said to him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise"[2]. This meant that Jesus forgave Dismas for his wrongdoings and promised him a place in heaven. This was a big deal because Dismas was forgiven at the last moment of his life, showing that it's never too late to turn to God and ask for forgiveness.

Dismas' story imparts valuable lessons in a remarkably straightforward manner. It reminds us that regardless of one's past actions, it is never too late to seek forgiveness. Moreover, it highlights the immense power of faith and belief. Even in the direst circumstances, Dismas unwaveringly placed his trust in Jesus, and this unwavering faith ultimately became his salvation. Lastly, the story emphasizes the compassion and mercy of Jesus. By forgiving Dismas and assuring him of paradise, Jesus exemplified that forgiveness and redemption are perpetually within reach.


Dismas, in Christianity, is frequently regarded as a beacon of hope. His tale serves as a powerful illustration that regardless of one's past, genuine repentance and belief can lead to forgiveness. This narrative brings solace to countless individuals, demonstrating that transformation, absolution, and a fresh start are perpetually within reach through faith.


  1. Luke 23:42 (Link)
  2. Luke 23:43 (Link)