Luke 5:33

ESV And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.”
NIV They said to him, 'John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.'
NASB And they said to Him, 'The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink.'
CSB Then they said to him, "John's disciples fast often and say prayers, and those of the Pharisees do the same, but yours eat and drink."
NLT One day some people said to Jesus, 'John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?'
KJV And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?

What does Luke 5:33 mean?

Luke's is the only Gospel that ties fasting and prayers, here, and it's the only Gospel that specifically mentions "eat and drink." This ties into the same theme as Jesus' feast with the sinners at Levi's house (Luke 5:29–32), though that isn't proof the two events occurred at the same time. Matthew 9:14 says the disciples of John ask this question. Mark 2:18 says the impetus for the question is that John's disciples and the Pharisees are fasting on this day. Luke doesn't identify the questioners; that implies that differences between Jesus' teaching and that of the religious leaders are meaningful to the entire community.

Fasting in New Testament-era Judaism was important culturally, but not necessarily scripturally. Jews fasted on the Day of Atonement, taking "afflict yourselves" of Leviticus 16:29 and 31 to mean fasting from food. More literally, the reference is to humbling oneself. Throughout the centuries, it became common for religious leaders to fast on Mondays and Thursdays each week (Didache 8:1). Jews also fasted in mourning for the fall of Jerusalem (Zechariah 7:3), for penitence (1 Kings 21:27), and for God's favor (Esther 4:16).

Jesus responds by pointing out that it's improper to mourn while He is present in the flesh. It makes as much sense as fasting at a wedding feast in the presence of the bridegroom. Soon He will leave and there will be ample time to mourn (Luke 5:34–35). For now, it is time to celebrate.

Although the verse starts with "and," that doesn't mean the event follows directly on the heels of Luke 5:32. Luke stacks individual events—called "pericopes"— with little concern about exact chronological order. As with other ancient writers, the focus is the theme of the passage. He also presents charges against Jesus as a statement; Mark and Matthew express them in the form of a question. Luke is more concerned with condensing the background to get to the meat of the issue than with telling a detailed story.
What is the Gospel?
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