It's Never Too Late
1. The Crime. Greetings! My name is Dismas, which means "sunset" or "death." I am-I was-a criminal-a robber. I was an enemy of the state-a violent, dangerous man. I lived in caves in the Judean hills near the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. My partner in crime, Gestas, and I made our living by violence. We wouldn't attack the big groups that passed in caravans for safety. We would rob solitary families or anyone foolish to travel alone. I would brandish a strong staff and threaten my victims with a beating. Most would give up without much of a fight. But I've served up some broken bones and gaping wounds in my day. However, one particular mugging didn't go as planned. A tall, lanky man was traveling alone when Gestas and I jumped him. Much to our shock, this stranger overwhelmed us with his strength. Before I knew it, he had ripped the staff out of Gestas's grasp. He then attempted to choke him to death with the staff. Instinctually, I struck our victim on the head knocking him unconscious. Gestas then grabbed his staff back and ruthlessly beat this poor man. As we knelt down to steal his belongings, I listened for his heartbeat. I heard nothing. We killed a man! Before we knew it we were caught by a Roman patrol. These soldiers caught us, beat us, dragged us into Jerusalem, and threw us in prison. They showed no mercy-and rightly so-we never showed mercy either. For our crime, we were tried in a Roman court of law. We were then sentenced to death by crucifixion at "The Skull." You may be familiar with its Aramaic name Golgotha or its Latin name Calvaria. It's a horrible place of execution.
2. The Cross. Rather quickly I was hanging on a Roman cross experiencing the most gruesome form of torture known in the world. The excruciating pain and horror of crucifixion is beyond your wildest imagination. Since I know this is a joyous and festive day for you, I will not go into the gruesome details. Suffice to say, ...
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