One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: "Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!"
But the other one made him shut up: "Have you no fear of God? You're getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom."
He said, "Don't worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise." Luke 23: 39-43 (The Message Bible)
I always wanted to write a story about these two criminals. What were they crucified for? Did they have family, mingled with Jesus' followers, who cried below their crosses? Did any of that family hear the conversation from the crosses? What if one of these people, who had never heard of Jesus before, end up becoming one of the first Christians? Or does anyone know if such a story has already been written?
(This is a church in Quinua, Peru, a small village about an hour's drive from Ayacucho, where I volunteered for a week in 2009. Quinua, set high in the Andes mountains, is known for its ceramics, especially the little houses which are placed on the tops of buildings as protection against evil spirits.)