My name is Dismas – that is not my real name mind you but it is the one I now go by as it was given to me by my good friend Jesus.
You see I am what was known as a bad seed by many. I had a rough childhood – my Dad was a nasty man and he was hard on my Mom and all of us kids. He liked his wine too much and no matter what any of us did it was never good enough.
I left our small town when I was only 15 years old and shortly after I hooked up with this older guy called Gestas – he was a real tough and together we made quite a pair.
We took no crap from anyone and pretty soon we had our territory marked out and any travelers coming by were ours for the taking. I remember this one couple that wandered into our neighborhood – they were from Nazareth – they seemed to be on the run and they had a baby with them. My partner wanted to rip them off but I could sense that they were different and I told Gestas to back off and let them proceed on their journey.
I first got to talk to Jesus face to face in a cell we briefly shared. You see my life of crime had caught up with me and my buddy Gestas and we were sentenced to die by hanging on a cross. The Romans were brutal and they showed us no mercy. My time was up and I knew it and there was nowhere left to run. Seems I was not as good a thief as I thought I was.
Just before we were to be lead out to be executed the Romans threw Jesus into our cell. It only took one look to know that he was different from the rest of us in that cold dungeon room. The story that follows is what happened to him and me on that last day of our lives.
It was a journey we took together on the way to the cross and it changed my life in an instant. I hope by the time you are finished hearing our story you too will know that no matter what you may have done in your life, my brother Jesus will welcome you with open arms into the Kingdom and there you will find peace.