Posted by: edhensley | April 16, 2017

Contradictions in the Easter Stories

Many Christians claim that the creator of the universe will eternally torture all those who do not believe in the Easter story. Therefore, it is worth investigating whether or not the story is true.

  • When in his ministry did Jesus enter Jerusalem?
  • Matthew 21 (of 28), before cleansing the Temple & getting arrested
  • Mark 11 (of 16), before cleansing Temple & getting arrested
  • Luke 19 (of 24), before cleansing Temple & getting arrested
  • Jesus cleanses the Temple in John 2. Jesus has the triumphal entry into Jerusalem in John 12 (of 21).

Picture from Jesus cleansing the temple.

  • What Animal(s) did Jesus ride into Jerusalem?
  • Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
  • Mark 11:1-7 One donkey
  • Luke 19:29-35 One donkey
  • John 12:14-15 One donkey
  • Matt 21:1-7 Two donkeys

This was too funny not to add!

What were Jesus’ last words?

  • Matt 27 and Mark 15: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is quoting Psalm 22:1.
  • Luke 23: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” This is quoting Psalm 31:5.
  • John 19: “It is finished.”

Jerusalem Zombies

Matt 27: 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

There is no historical record of this incredible event allegedly witnessed by many people.




What time did the women visit the tomb?

  • Matthew: “as it began to dawn” (28:1)
  • Mark: “very early in the morning . . . at the rising of the sun” (16:2, KJV); “when the sun had risen” (NRSV); “just after sunrise” (NIV)
  • Luke: “very early in the morning” (24:1, KJV) “at early dawn” (NRSV)
  • John: “when it was yet dark” (20:1)

Who were the women?

  • 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)


What was their purpose?

  • Matthew: to see the tomb (28:1)
  • Mark: had already seen the tomb (15:47), brought spices (16:1)
  • Luke: had already seen the tomb (23:55), brought spices (24:1)
  • John: the body had already been spiced before they arrived (19:39,40)

Was the tomb open when they arrived?

  • Matthew: No (28:2)
  • Mark: Yes (16:4)
  • Luke: Yes (24:2)
  • John: Yes (20:1)

Who was at the tomb when they arrived?

  • Matthew: One angel (28:2-7)
  • Mark: One young man (16:5)
  • Luke: Two men (24:4)
  • John: Two angels (20:12)





Where were these messengers situated?

  • Matthew: Angel sitting on the stone (28:2)
  • Mark: 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)

Did the women tell what happened?

  • Matthew: Yes (28:8)
  • Mark: No. “Neither said they any thing to any man.” (16:8)
  • Luke: Yes. “And they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.” (24:9, 22-24)
  • John: Yes (20:18)

When Mary returned from the tomb, did she know Jesus had been resurrected?

  • Matthew: Yes (28:7-8)
  • Mark: Yes (16:10,11)
  • Luke: Yes (24:6-9,23)
  • John: No (20:2)

When did Mary first see Jesus?

  • Matthew: Before she returned to the disciples (28:9)
  • Mark: Before she returned to the disciples (16:9,10)
  • John: After she returned to the disciples (20:2,14)

Could Jesus be touched after the resurrection?

  • Matthew: Yes (28:9)
  • John: No (20:17), Yes (20:27)


What happened at the appearance?

  • Matthew: Disciples worshipped, some doubted, “Go preach.” (28:17-20)
  • Mark: Jesus reprimanded them, said “Go preach” (16:14-19)
  • Luke: Christ incognito, vanishing act, materialized out of thin air, reprimand, supper (24:13-51)
  • John: Magically appears in locked room, disciples happy, Jesus blesses them, no reprimand (20:19-23)

Did Jesus stay on earth for a while?

  • Mark: No (16:19) Compare 16:14 with John 20:19 to show that this was all done on Sunday
  • Luke: No (24:50-52) It all happened on Sunday
  • 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. Book ends on mountain in Galilee
  • Mark: In or near Jerusalem, after supper (16:19)
  • Luke: In Bethany, very close to Jerusalem, after supper (24:50-51)
  • John: No ascension
  • Acts: Ascended from Mount of Olives (1:9-12)

Jesus Barabbas

  • Oldest Syriac versions say Jesus Barabbas rather than Barabbas in Matthew 27
  • Christian historian Origen (184 – 254 CE) referred to Jesus Barabbas and was confused as to why it was permitted for his name to be so similar to Jesus
  • Most scholars believe Jesus Barabbas was in the original version of Matthew
  • Barabbas is Hebrew for Son of the Father
  • Jesus Barabbas means Jesus Son of the Father
  • Jesus “Son of the Father” is set free
  • Jesus “Son of God” is sacrificed
  • Exactly like the “scapegoat” Jewish tradition in Leviticus 16:15-25
  • No record of a prisoner release (Privilegium Paschale) on Passover or any Jewish holiday
  • Apologists will point to a couple of occasions where Romans set prisoners free, but they cannot find any example of releasing prisoners on a Jewish holiday




  1. Ed,
    Let me start off by saying that we suppose to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in us, but we are not obligated to engage in refuting “seeming contradictions” to those such as yourself who very apparently are already unconvinced – not merely investigating for the sake of truth. Many of your blogs suggest as much, and the Bible already gives us a biography on the unbeliever. You in fact do know God is real….The response of “I’ve read that in Romans before ect”, is irrelevant. Anyone saying they’ve heard it hundreds of times, should not truly believe that responding like that is a valid argument…A thousand times over, it is still true.

    Anyways, here is a link for just one of the many “contradictions” you state. It does make sense, but there may be other ways to reconcile it as well.

    You say some Christians believe if others don’t believe the Easter story, they will be eternally tortured, thus the truth should be investigated, what you should be saying is “There is a God that created us, we rebelled, he is a just judge who will punish sin, it is worthwhile to find out how we can avoid eternal punishment.

    Many places in many posts, you display certainties that suggest you do believe, and exercise faith, but also deny, suppress and seemingly hate God. Nobody should be duped into believing you or anybody else does not know God exists

    This is a truth from scripture, starting our thinking apart from God will lead to mischievous madness. Without God, we cannot know a single thing. This doesn’t imply that no one is intelligent – but rather how do you know the deliverances of your mind are accurate? This is a deep subject, one thing to remind is that everyone DOES know God, he has generally revealed himself to everyone.
    Ed, without God, you, nor I can even say what our eyes or ears are for? Seriously…can you say for certain what they are for? Without God as our starting point, there is no certainty – probability is the best you can offer.

    Perhaps is Robert Trivers right? That we practice the art of self deception to our advantage through life? Good luck believing a word that man says.

    Or how about Richard Dawkins on classes being human convention? Guess you or I can’t even say with certainty we are men.

    Then there is the Atheist/Humanist taking Confucious for their own, when Confucious himself appealed to deity.

    The word of God is truth, in a world super-saturated with lies, and those who hear the word, are wise to accept Christ. There are explanations for all pretend contradictions, like the above link provided. The awesome part is that in Heaven in the Lord’s presence we will probably get the answers unbelievers never will.

    I’m sure you have read the answers to many “apparent contradictions”. You know everything can be reconciled without stretching the facts. What you seek is extraordinary evidence. Seeking extraordinary evidence though, suggests that there is a baseline of evidence you already accept, so now you seek answers with a certainty that without God, you yourself can’t give.

    God Bless

    • You in fact do know God is real….The response of “I’ve read that in Romans before ect”, is irrelevant.

      You claim to believe in a god. I do not doubt that you believe as you say. You, however do not give me or other atheists the same courtesy. When we say we do not believe in god, we do not believe in god. I would never want to be like you in any way. Don’t end a message with “God Bless” when you are calling me a liar.

      • Do you not go home, kiss your wife and children as thought they are irreplaceable and worthy of love? There is no reason if they or you are just an accidental bag of chemicals.
        I will grant that you are convinced you have a belief that you don’t believe in God, all while deep down knowing he exists…it’s an intellectual schizoprenia so to speak.

        You tell me what to message, show much intolerance, and cut out large portions of my reply, appealing to immaterial laws and rules. Not very Atheist. There is nothing illogical or irrational believing God’s word on unbelievers – not my words, over the deliverances of fallible man. God is The Greatest Concievable Being Which There Can Be None Greater. You, or I, or anybody else, are that one shining light that the Bible must not be referring to. I do say God Bless…would love to see you saved.

      • deep down knowing he exists

        I again reject your arrogant claim that you know what I believe deep down.

      • You are certainly free to reject any claim, however, “My ignorant claim” is an innaccurate statement, as it is not mine, It is a claim of He who created you. Many of your claims stem from research and standards generated by others. We do have different beliefs, just coming from different sources. Rejecting a claim though, is not the same providing evidence for it.

      • You have referred to god as “He” on multiple occasions, implying that god is male. Does your god have a male reproductive organ and/or a Y chromosome?

  2. Whoops, my sincere apologies – I hadn’t seen my post added, that comment I humbly retract

  3. The comment on cutting out portions of posts that is

  4. Thanks! Great have these comparasons clearly layed out to see. Grom esrliest times itcwas known that not all on the gospels are factually accurate. In the ancientcworld there wasbless access to facts. Truths conveyed rather than factual detail was the priority.
    I understand the gospels fit a contemporary biographical style in this regard. The differences in details ondicates what you would expect from a reports of events back then.

  5. The Gospels picks up the narrative at different points of time, while telling the same story, and you accuse them of being contradictory.

    If none of the Gospels had OMITTED any point of the narrative, then you would accuse them of having corroborated beforehand what to say.

    Therefore, in either case, you would reject the four written witnesses.


    “Six Days Before the Passover”

    The Sequence of Events Following the Lord’s Resurrection

    • If stories have differences in time, locations, and events that cannot be resolved by you or the links you provided.

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