Posted by: thaishin | March 31, 2017

Were there more than two criminals?

Matthew 27

38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.  -kjv

Matthew 27

44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.  -kjv

Question from moody radio listener on Mar 25, 2017 on openline:

Could you help me understand regards to the passages that referred to the criminals who were crucified with Jesus? Matthew, Mark implied that multiple criminals taunted Jesus. In Luke’s account, one of the criminals acknowledged who Jesus was and rebuked the other one. Could there have been more than just two? Normally, we just assumed there have been three of them, two criminals, one who believed and one who did not and Jesus in the middle. Could there have been more criminals crucified who would have been taunting Jesus?

Answer from Dr Michael Rydelnik and his wife Eva Rydelnik.

Dr Michael Rydelnik:

I don’t think there were just Jesus and the two criminals there. When the Romans executed people, they did a whole bunch. Probably there were more people taunting Jesus than just the two there. It appears that what you have in Luke is one of those who were there being crucified with the Lord Jesus, he’s the one who repents and that’s the one whom Jesus says “this day you will be with me in Paradise” and there’s probably a wide street where many people were being crucified for a variety of reasons. The word that is used here for thiefs is better rebels, these were probably …

Eva Rydelnik:

They were zealots against Rome. They were political activist against Rome, which is why one of the charges against Jesus which led to him being crucified was …

Dr Michael Rydelnik :

The king of the Jews trying to bring down the Romans.

Eva Rydelnik:

They use a political accusation against him.

Dr Michael Rydelnik:

So they were people who were involved in revolt against Rome.

Eva Rydelnik:

In Matthew 27:44, it just say the robbers who were crucified with him were insulting him but it doesn’t say they were dissidents. In verse 38, it says at that time, two robbers were crucified with him. One on the right, one on the left, so in verse 38, it says there were two, in verse 44, it says the robbers. The fact that there were two does not limit that there was only two.



  1. To me the number is not important. The message was Jesus gave the assurance to the man who repented saying, “today you will be in heaven with me.” This means that WE also the moment we leave this earth if saved are with Jesus in paradise. All the other discussion is time wasting to me.

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