How Often Did Jesus and His Disciples Fast?

Fasting is a practice that has been observed by many religions for centuries. But how often did Jesus and his disciples fast? Let’s take a closer look at the biblical accounts.

Jesus’ Fasting

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness before he began his public ministry (Matthew 4:2). This is often referred to as “The Temptation of Jesus” where he was tempted by Satan three times but he resisted each time. This fast shows that Jesus was preparing himself for his mission on earth.

There is no record of any other fasts that Jesus observed during his ministry, but there are instances where he encouraged his disciples to fast.

Disciples’ Fasting

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ disciples were criticized by the Pharisees because they did not fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees did (Mark 2:18). In response, Jesus explained that while he was with them, they didn’t need to fast because it was a time of celebration. However, there would come a time when he would be taken away from them and then they would fast (Mark 2:19-20).

After Jesus’ ascension into heaven, we see that the disciples did indeed observe fasting. In Acts chapter 13, we see that Paul and Barnabas were fasting and praying when they received direction from the Holy Spirit to go on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-3). This shows us that fasting can be used as a way of seeking God’s direction.

Why Fast?

Fasting serves as an important spiritual discipline in Christianity. It helps us draw closer to God by denying our physical needs and focusing on Him. The act of fasting also helps us humble ourselves before God and acknowledge our dependence on Him.

  • Physical benefits: Fasting has been shown to have physical benefits such as weight loss, an increase in energy levels, and improved digestion.
  • Spiritual benefits: Fasting helps us focus on God and brings us closer to Him. It can also help us gain clarity and direction in our lives.


While the Bible doesn’t provide a lot of information about how often Jesus and his disciples fasted, it is clear that fasting was an important spiritual discipline for them. It helped them prepare for ministry, seek God’s direction, and draw closer to Him. As Christians, we can learn from their example and incorporate fasting into our own spiritual practices.