2:18 fasting. The Mosaic law required only one fast annually, on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29–31; cf. Acts 27:9, which calls this day “the Fast”). Nevertheless, as a sign of contrition and penitence associated with prayer, fasting was a part of Old Testament piety from the time of the judges (Judg. 20:26; 1 Kin. 21:27), sometimes becoming an empty ritual (Is. 58:3). The Pharisees and their adherents apparently fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12). Since the message of John the Baptist centered on repentance (Matt. 3:11), fasting was appropriate for his disciples. Jesus, whose own message included repentance, did not insist upon fasting.