Easter Contradictions

Regular readers of my blog might recognize the following post from old blog, but thought it was worth sharing again this year.

It’s Easter again, and therefore I’d like to enlighten you all with just a few contradictions in the Gospels concerning the events surrounding Easter. As a Christian I read the New Testament 4-5 times in its entirety, and the important parts many more times than that, but I still wasn’t aware of just how many contradictions there are in the NT (and the rest of the Bible). Part of the reason is, as a Christian, you’re usually taught not to pay attention to these things, another part of the reason is that the 4 Gospels are usually read individually, rather than together and comparatively.

I’d like to extend this challenge to any and all of my Christian readers, a challenge, which I also shared with my friends on Facebook.

“I HAVE AN EASTER challenge for Christians. My challenge is simply this: tell me what happened on Easter. I am not asking for proof. My straightforward request is merely that Christians tell me exactly what happened on the day that their most important doctrine was born.

The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul’s tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.

Since the gospels do not always give precise times of day, it is permissible to make educated guesses. The narrative does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture–it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts. Additional explanation of the narrative may be set apart in parentheses. The important condition to the challenge, however, is that not one single biblical detail be omitted. Fair enough?”

Leave No Stone Unturned – An Easter Challenge for Christians
I have chosen not to go through every single contradiction, but just some of those who are more notorious in my opinion. There’s a list of sources at the end, in which even more can be found. Of course all of these statements can be verified for yourself by looking in a Bible.
The Last Supper:
Matthew: On the first day of the Passover (26:17)
Mark: On the first day of the Passover (14:12)
Luke: On the first day of the Passover (22:7)
John: The day before Passover, and Jesus is crucified on the first day of the Passover (19:14)
The Lord’s Supper Instituted by Jesus or by Paul:
Is instituted by Jesus in Matthew, Mark and Luke (not instituted at all in John), but according to 1 Corinthians 11:23, instituted by Paul: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread…” As these words are written some twenty years after the death of Jesus, it is clear that the church has not been celebrating the Lord’s Supper. 
Crucified Between Two Robbers:
Matthew 27:38 and Mark 15:27, (criminals according to Luke, and simply men according to John), this is factually incorrect as the Romans did not crucify robbers.
Opened Tombs:
According to Matthew 27:51-53, a huge earth quake opened the tombs in Jerusalem at the moment Jesus died. The dead stayed in their graves until the moment of Jesus’ resurrection, at which point they all walked around in town. It seems strange that such a large event when unnoticed by the other Gospel writers, and historical writers in general.
Who Found the Tomb:
Matthew: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (28:1)
Mark: Mary Magdalene, the mother of James, and Salome (16:1)
Luke: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women (24:10)
John: Mary Magdalene (20:1)
Who Did They Find at the Tomb and Where Were They:
Matthew: One angel sitting on the stone (28:2)
Mark: One young man sitting inside on the right (16:5)
Luke: Two men standing inside (24:4)
John: Two angels sitting on each end of the bed (20:12)
What Was Their Purpose:
Matthew: to see the tomb (28:1)
Mark: had already seen it (15:47) and brought spices (16:1)
Luke: had already seen it (23:55) and brought spices (24:1)
John: the body had already been spiced before arrival (19:39-40)
After the Women, to Whom Did Jesus First Appear:
Matthew: Eleven disciples (28:16)
Mark: Two disciples in the country, later to eleven (16:12,14)
Luke: Two disciples in Emmaus, later to eleven (24:13,36)
John: Ten disciples (Judas and Thomas weren’t there) (20:19,24)
Paul: First to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve (even though Judas was dead?!) (1 Corinthians 15:5)
Where Did Jesus First Appear to the Disciples:
Matthew: On a mountain in Galilee (60-100 miles away from Jerusalem) (28:16-17)
Mark: To two in the country, to eleven “as they sat at meat” (28:16-17)
Luke: In Emmaus (about seven miles from Jerusalem) at the evening, to the rest in a room in Jerusalem later that night (24:31,36)
John: In a room at evening (20:19)
Did Jesus Stay on Earth for a While:
Matthew: No information.
Mark: No (16:19)
Luke: No (24:50-52)
John: Yes, at least eight days (20:26, 21:1-22)
Acts: Yes, at least forty days (1:3)
Where Did the Ascension Take Place:
Matthew: No ascension.
Mark: In or near Jerusalem, after supper (16:19)
Luke: In Bethany, close to Jerusalem, after supper (24:50-51)
John: No ascension
Paul: No ascension
Acts: Ascended from Mount of Olives (1:9-12)
Once again, this is just a small collection of examples. Also, I know many Christians don’t take the Bible literally, that’s cool, but there are many many who do take it literally. I just wanted to provoke you a little bit, to be a little more critical of the Bible, and to maybe think for yourself instead of just following what you’ve been told.
Happy Easter to you all.
Leave No Stone Unturned – Freedom From Religion Foundation
New Testament Contradictions – Infidels
Easter and Other Mis-Information – Evil Theists


  1. LK

    I thought it was common place that everyone knew about the contradictions between the 4 gospels? Cause it works that way all the way through the NT. Most of what one is taught I believe is based off of Mathew. They are vastly different in various parts of the NT.


    • Not that common, at least not where I grew up. Basically, I was taught that the 4 gospels complemented each other, not contradicted.



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