WHO, CRUCIFIED ON CALVARY, MOCKED JESUS?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Bible critics, always seeking “problematic” verses to pick at, say Scripture contradicts itself concerning those crucified with Christ. Two Gospel Records say two “thieves” mocked Jesus. A third Gospel Record claims one “malefactor” mocked Jesus and another “malefactor” believed on Him. Is one of these accounts, or all of them, flawed? If not, does this necessitate four people be crucified with Christ? Or, were there only two people crucified with Christ? If so, why does the Bible say one mocked and one did not, while also saying both mocked? Beloved, this is needlessly complicating the Bible, lost people speculating and Christians repeating lost people’s comments. If they would just actually study their Bibles and let God’s Word speak for itself, they would never wind up with such awful conundrums! In this Bible study, we set the record straight (and hopefully dispel erroneous ideas and confusion).
MATTHEW—TWO THIEVES MOCKED JESUS. Matthew chapter 27: “ Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left….  The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth [that is, also reviled/insulted Him; see verses 39-43].”
MARK—TWO THIEVES MOCKED JESUS. Mark chapter 15: “ And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left….  Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.”
Thus far, Matthew and Mark agree with each other. No problem here. There were two “thieves” crucified with Jesus and both ridiculed Him. However, the Book of Luke will seem to challenge this simple scenario.
LUKE—ONE MALEFACTOR MOCKED CHRIST WHILE ONE MALEFACTOR TRUSTED CHRIST. Luke chapter 23: “ And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
JOHN—TWO CRUCIFIED, BUT NO COMMENT ON ANYONE MOCKING OR TRUSTING JESUS. While John 19:18 mentions only two crucified with Jesus, it does not comment concerning mocking or trusting. It merely says, “Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.”
Dear friends, I have said it before, and I will say it again. If we use just a little common sense, it will carry us far in the Bible! The two “thieves” in Matthew and Mark are the same two “malefactors” (criminals) in Luke. We need not complicate the Bible unless we have an agenda (we want to discredit the Bible, we want to advance a “pet” theological position, and so on). Let us not be silly and say four people were crucified with Jesus. Unless, of course, we will apply that idea all the way through and say—“two thieves” (Matthew and Mark), “two malefactors” (Luke), and “two” others who neither trusted nor mocked (John). See, it gets more and more ridiculous. Keep it simple! Keep it simple! Keep it simple!
Jesus was crucified with two individuals (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). They were called “thieves” in Matthew and Mark, and “malefactors” in Luke. Initially, both men mocked Jesus (Matthew and Mark). Then, one man had a change in heart (in Luke only). He began to rebuke the other man, the one who continued laughing at the Lord Jesus. Friends, this is the simplest explanation, so we need not seek any other. We do not have to entertain the ideas of “Bible mistakes,” “four to six individuals crucified with Jesus,” et cetera. Such is worthless speculation. Satan loves nothing more than when people twist God’s Word out of shape and make it into nonsense.
Concerning the idea about whether there were three or five crosses on Calvary, please see our study linked below. Regarding the repentant thief and why he changed his mind to trust Christ instead of continue to mock Him, see our related study linked below.