In the end, the disciples backed out and made as though they did not know Jesus when it was time to hang on the cross. They knew they would hang just as well if they came out and claimed to know him when it was time to bring Jesus to “evil” justice. St. Dismas must of lived a humble life to be able to recognize Jesus as the son of God in the end considering how bitter Gestas was to Jesus. Gestas was still spitting in the face of God all the way til the end. People dont change from good to evil in the blink of an eye or at the last minute of their life. Good or evil is decided through the majority of our actions and what is in our hearts. St. Dismas knew according to the law that he should pay for his sins, but in his heart he had a love for life and others in it. If everyone had taken their crosses up when Jesus took his up the last day, they would of been promised paradise too. Paradise was the reward Jesus was trying to give back to his disciples for their hard journey with him. Life is about doing what you need to do and then entering the final rest (death). If you are doing the wrong thing in life, or you have a dirty conscious, then you may fear death. Fear can hold us back from entering into paradise much like it did the 12 disciples. In the end, a thief with a good heart was the only one who slipped into paradise with Jesus.
“Behold, I come like a thief ! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” – Revelation 16:15