crucified with Jesus. The name of the other was Dismas. Gestas is also known by such names as the "bad thief”, the “unrepentant thief” and the “blasphemous thief". Gestas was crucified on the left of Christ.
Unlike Dismas, Gestas did not recognise Christ as the Saviour and did not repent of his misdeeds. He only wanted to be saved from his sufferings on the cross. On seeing that this was not going to happen, he cursed and taunted Christ.
The story of this malefactor is sad and tragic. Gestas never acknowledged the innocence of Christ and his own guilt. He had the same opportunity as Dismas but he did not make good use of it. Gestas’ end was miserable but we can learn from this unrepentant malefactor. One criminal chose life, but Gestas chose death. Gestas died swearing and sneering at God instead of going into Paradise with Him, as Dismas did. His drama tell us that it is not enough to be nailed next to Christ to be saved. He was there crucified because he was guilty; he knew he was guilty but he did not repent. Sometimes pain and suffering are not sufficient for gaining salvation.
The story of Gestas is terrible. In this life he was put to death by crucifixion and in the next life he was condemned to suffer eternal damnation in Hell.
Depictions of Gestas
To differentiate the two malefactors from Christ, artists represent them as bound or tied to the cross, although they would have surely suffered the same Roman method of execution as Christ did.
That is to say, they were also nailed to their crosses. The anguish and the contorted bodies of the two thieves, especially Gestas, in juxtaposition with the dignity and majesty of the Savior, offer another very obvious distinction.