How Well Do You Know the Story of Easter in the Bible?

By: Zoe Samuel
Image: CAPTAIN BLACK

About This Quiz

Easter is the story of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, marking the culmination of his 33 years on the Earth and - in Christian theology - the fulfillment of a number of major prophecies concerning the redemption of mankind.

Easter is, in fact, a hybrid of earlier faiths' festivals. It is primarily an evolution of Passover, the Jewish festival marking the Exodus from Egypt as well as the arrival of spring and a hopeful time of rebirth and new opportunity. There are also some pagan elements that go back to festivals concerning the worship of a mother goddess figure (often a virgin) such as Ishtar or Freya, who would be honored with the coming of spring and new life.

Easter also has a variety of traditions associated with it that are gleefully co-opted from a commercial point of view, from bunnies to chocolate eggs to hot cross buns. It also marks the end of Lent, a period of mourning and reflection marked by sacrifice.

Not too much of this is actually in the Biblical story of Easter, though. The story is pretty factual and certainly involves zero chocolate eggs. So let's find out how much of that original story you remember.

What did Jesus wear on his head while carrying the cross?

The crown of thorns was partly to hurt physically and partly to make fun of the idea that Jesus was king of the Jews.

Who stabbed Jesus while he was on the cross?

Longinus was a centurion who stabbed Jesus in the side, thus ending his suffering on the cross.

Who was ruling Judea for the Romans?

Pilate was in charge of Judea and Herod was merely a vassal king of the Roman province.

Which apostle denied knowing Jesus?

Thomas denied knowing Jesus to get out of trouble by association. He later repented for it.

How much was Judas paid for betraying the location of Jesus to the Romans?

Thirty pieces of silver was the price on Jesus' head, and is now a byword for a bribe taken by a really bad person doing a really bad thing.

Who was the first person to see Jesus when he came out of the tomb?

A man named Cleopas saw Jesus first but did not immediately recognize him, which is not surprising as he would have been very dirty!

How long was Jesus in the tomb?

Jesus was in the tomb for three days, blocked in by a big stone - and when people opened it, he was gone.

What were probably Jesus' last words while on the cross?

Jesus said this last. People have been very upset that he also said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" as it casts doubt on his divinity, but some say this is merely a sign of his human suffering at that moment.

What is the name of the thief who was released as part of Pilate's annual offer of mercy?

Pilate would always release one person to show mercy at Passover. The crowd demanded he release Barabbas, a no-good thief, so he did.

Who cooked The Last Supper?

No one knows who made the meal! We only know who was there and what they ate.

Which priest initially wanted Jesus strung up on blasphemy charges?

Caiaphas wanted to get Jesus on blasphemy charges but needed Roman approval to sentence him to death.

What was The Last Supper celebrating?

The Last Supper was Pesach or Passover, a Jewish festival that is celebrated around the time of Easter and marks the Exodus.

Who first discovered that Jesus was missing from the tomb?

In some non-canonical tellings, Mary Magdalene was a noblewoman who was also a disciple of Jesus.

When did Jesus and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives?

After the supper, Jesus and the disciples went to the Mount of Olives to check out the natural beauty of the site. This is where Jesus predicted one of them would deny him.

Who helped to carry Jesus' cross for a little while?

Jesus was too weak after being mistreated by the Romans, so Simon the Cyrene came to the rescue by carrying the cross for him.

Two people took Jesus' body down from the cross. One was Joseph of Arimathea. Who was the other?

These two good guys asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus down so they could bury him. It's very important in Jewish law not to wait around to bury a body, as it is not hygienic.

How was Jesus attached to the cross?

Jesus was nailed to the cross, through his hands and feet.

After Jesus came back from the dead, how long was it before he was taken up to heaven?

Jesus came back for 40 days, which is a nice round Biblical number!

What was eaten at the Last Supper?

There was bread at the Last Supper which Jesus gave to the disciples saying it was his body. There was also lamb, which is the traditional meal at Passover.

What did they drink at the Last Supper?

They drank wine which Jesus said symbolized his blood, and through the miracle of transubstantiation, became it.

How many people were at the Last Supper?

Twelve apostles plus Jesus makes 13, which is why 13 is considered unlucky. It's possible some women were also there, so it might be more than 13.

Where was Jesus arrested?

Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, though he had recently been in Bethany.

How did Judas tell the authorities who to arrest?

The authorities wanted to pounce on Jesus rather than risk his followers defending him, so they had Judas signal which one he was.

Where was the crucifixion?

The name means "place of the skull." It's also known as Calvary.

How long was Jesus on the cross?

Jesus was on the cross for six hours. Crucifixion is a lot more painful than people often realize and gets more so the longer it takes - which can be up to three days.

With what did Longinus stab Jesus?

Longinus is a curious figure as he not only stabbed Jesus, some believe that he drank the blood from the wound, making him the first vampire in some tellings (though not in the Bible).

What road did Jesus take to the crucifixion?

This is a street that is still in the old city in Jerusalem.

How many statements did Jesus make from the cross, if all the accounts in the Bible are correct?

Jesus said a total of seven possible statements on the cross, though the gospels disagree on exactly which are correct.

How old was Jesus at the time of the crucifixion?

Jesus was 33 which was considered old enough to have your own ministry and be a teacher.

What supernatural event occurred while Jesus was on the cross?

Some gospels disagree but there are accounts that it turned dark while Jesus was on the cross.

Why does the crucifixion matter?

The crucifixion is not the end of the story but it is the key moment as it is when Jesus substituted his death for ours, thus enabling human redemption.

There were two other men crucified on​ either side of Jesus. What crime did they commit?

There were two thieves at either side of Jesus, but only one was repentant.

What is the story of Easter also known as?

The Passion refers to the final days of Jesus' life as he came to Jerusalem ahead of Passover and was soon arrested and crucified - the emotional highlight of his tale.

Why is Jesus' suffering more significant than that of a regular person?

The suffering of Jesus is a more profound suffering than that of regular people as he is perfect according to theology, thus any suffering is infinitely worse for him.

What shape was the cross?

Various accounts speak of different shapes, including a device with five extremities - but yes, generally speaking,​ the cross was likely the shape we see in churches.

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