“Then they said to Jesus.
Like the disciples
Of the Pharisees,
Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται, ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων, οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν.
Luke used the ambiguous “they” to lodge a complaint against the disciples of Jesus. They said to Jesus (Οἱ δὲ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν) that John’s disciples (Οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάνου) frequently fasted (νηστεύουσιν πυκνὰ) and often made prayers (καὶ δεήσεις ποιοῦνται). Likewise, the disciples of the Pharisees also fasted and prayed (ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ τῶν Φαρισαίων). However, the disciples of Jesus ate and drank (οἱ δὲ σοὶ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ πίνουσιν), since they did not fast. Apparently, fasting was a unique Jewish practice in ancient times. However, most religions of the world today have some kind of fasting or not eating certain foods or drinks for a specific amount of time. Mark, chapter 2:18, and Matthew, chapter 9:14, are similar to Luke, so that Mark might be the source of this incident, although there are some differences. Mark had the disciples of John the Baptist acting together with the Pharisees, as they both agreed about fasting. They wanted to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast. The disciples of John seemed to be on the side of the Pharisees, and not with the followers of Jesus. Matthew had only the disciples of John the Baptist, without the Pharisees, show up wanting to know why the disciples of Jesus did not fast. These disciples of John came to Jesus, since John was in jail. They may have remained a separate group, since some people have traced followers of John the Baptist to the Mandaeans along the Iraq-Iran border.