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The Easter Story in 14 Bible Passages

Celebrate the holiest of seasons with the story of Easter told through Scriptures.

Fresco of Resurrected Christ from the Easter story in Carmelites church in Dobling
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Connect to this season on an even deeper level by reading the Easter story in the Bible. Here are answers to some common questions, followed by the Biblical story told in 14 verses with stunning artwork.

READ MORE: 10 Acts of Kindness to do for Easter

What is the Easter Story?

The Easter story recounts Jesus’ resurrection three days after His crucifixion.

The Bible states how Jesus made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Shortly after, His apostle Judas agreed to betray Jesus and deliver Him to the chief priests for thirty silver pieces. After attending the last supper with His apostles and visiting the garden of Gethsemane to pray to God, Jesus was delivered to Pontius Pilate and sentenced to death. Jesus took His final steps walking through a crowd of angry people while carrying a cross. He was crucified, and with His last breath He committed himself to His father’s hands. Shortly after, Jesus’ body was returned to His followers, and He was buried in a tomb.

However, on the following Sunday, Jesus’ followers went to His tomb to find it open. Jesus’ body was not inside. They knew that Jesus had risen.

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Is the word “Easter” in the Bible?

The word “Easter” is only found in the King James Bible version of the Old Testament, in Act 12:4, when King Herod captures Peter. The verse reads:

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

The events of this verse took place well before Jesus’ crucifixion, so many biblical scholars, including the Armstrong Institute of Biblical Archeology, believe this translation to be misleading. In every other translation of this verse, the word “Easter” is translated to “Passover.”

While the word is not found anywhere in many Bibles, the Easter story itself is still one of the most powerful stories of the New Testament.

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Where is the Easter Story in the Bible?

The Easter story is in the Bible, specifically the Book of Matthew, the Book of John, and the Book of Luke. These gospels take us through the story from Jesus entering Jerusalem to His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Jesus’ resurrection is also mentioned throughout the New Testament, from Philippians to Romans to Corinthians.

Below is the Easter story told through 14 Bible verses, followed by seven Bible verses that mention Jesus’ resurrection for further reading and reflection.

The Easter Story in 14 Bible Verses

The fresco of Entry of Jesus in Jerusalem from the Easter story in Duomo by Lattanzio Gambara
The fresco of Entry of Jesus in Jerusalem by Lattanzio Gambara. Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Matthew 21:7-9 — Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted…

Mosaic of Judas kissing Jesus from the Easter story at Altlerchenfelder church in Vienna
Fresco of Judas betraying Jesus in Altlerchenfelder Church in Vienna. Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Matthew 26:14-16 — Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Painting of the Last Supper from the Easter story at St. Nicholas Church in Brussels
Painting of the Last Supper of Christ from St. Nicholas Church in Brussels. Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Matthew 26:18 — The Last Supper

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”

Garden of Gethsemane from the Easter story in the Bible
The Garden at Gethsemane where Jesus prayed in the Easter story in the Bible. Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. Matthew 26:36 — The Garden of Gethsemane

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

Vintage colour lithograph of Jesus praying in Gethsemane from the Easter story
Vintage color lithograph of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (1882). Getty Images

5. Matthew 26:39 — Jesus Prays in the Garden

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Wood engraving of Jesus before Pilate in the Easter story
Wood engraving of Christ before Pilate (1886). Getty Images

6. Matthew 27:1-2 — Jesus Delivered to Pilate

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

Painting of Jesus and Pilate from the Easter story in Our Lady church in Belgium
Jesus before Pilate from Our Lady Church in Mechelen, Belgium. Getty Images/iStockphoto

7. John 19:6 — The Trial of Jesus Before Pilate

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Stained glass of Jesus carrying the cross from the Easter story
Stained glass of Jesus carrying the cross from the Easter story. Getty Images

8. Matthew 27:30-31 — Jesus’ Final Steps

They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Jesus on the cross from the Easter story in St. Jacques Church in Brussels
The Crucifixion painting by Jean Francois Portaels (1886) in St. Jacques Church at the Palace of Coudenberg in Brussels. Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. Mark 15:33 — Darkness Comes

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.

The Crucifixion of Jesus in the Easter story from St. Baaf's Cathedral in Belgium
Crucifixion painting on the wood from a side altar in the underground chapel of St. Baaf’s Cathedral in Gent, Belgium. Getty Images/iStockphoto

10. Luke 23:46 — The Death of Jesus

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Descent from the cross in the Easter story from Mimara Museum in Croatia
Descent from the Cross by Joos van Cleve from Mimara Museum in Zagreb, Croatia. Getty Images/iStockphoto

11. Matthew 27:57-59 — Jesus’ Body

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth…

Jesus burial from the Easter story in Cathedral of Our Lady in Belgium
Burial of Jesus by Josef Janssens in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium. Getty Images/iStockphoto

12. John 19:40-41 — Jesus is Buried

Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.

Lithograph of Jesus' Resurrection in the Easter story
Lithograph of the Resurrection by Nathan Currier (1849). Getty Images

13. Luke 24:1-6 — The Resurrection

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!

Fresco of Resurrected Christ from the Easter story in Carmelites church in Dobling
Fresco of Resurrected Christ by Josef Kastner in Carmelites Church in Vienna, Austria. Getty Images/iStockphoto

14. Matthew 28:8-10 — Jesus Appears

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

More of the Easter Story in the Bible

Here are five more Bible verses to reflect on that focus on the Easter story, specifically Jesus’ crucifixion when He died for our sins, and His resurrection. Bring these verses into your Easter prayers as you let the word of God guide you through this holy season.

  • I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. —Philippians 3:10-11
  • He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. —2 Timothy 1:9
  • Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? —Romans 8:34-35
  • But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. —1 Corinthians 15:20-21
  • Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. —1 Timothy 1:15-16


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