Whose Side Are You On? – Those Who Witnessed the Passion
– by Carlos Mantica
XVI. The Good Thief
Facing her, and next to Jesus, another man is hanging who is very much like her. This is Dimas, whom we call the good thief. He was a thief, and probably a good one. I don’t think he had been crucified just because of a slip of the hands committed out of necessity. He was no angel.
And yet he is the only man to whom Jesus guaranteed heaven, right here on earth: “I assure you, today you shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
The reason is that, like Mary Magdalene, he recognizes he is a sinner and has faith in Jesus Christ. He trusts in the Lord’s mercy and places himself in his hands. “Lord, remember me when you come to your Kingdom.” And he defends Jesus Christ: “… he rebuked his companion, saying, ‘Have you no fear of God, you who are under the same punishment? We are suffering with reason because we are paying the just punishment of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong'” (Luke 23:41).
And then he committed the greatest theft in all history, for that afternoon he stole Paradise itself.
Carlos Mantica is a founder of The City of God community (La Cuidad de Dios) in Managua, Nicaragua, and a founding leader of the Sword of the Spirit. He served as president of the Sword of the Spirit between 1991 and 1995. Adapted from the book, From Egghead to Birdhood (hatch or rot as a Christian), © copyright 2001 Carlos Mantica.