The prayers of Jesus in the Gospel of John
Chapter I discusses Johannine introduction: authorship, sources, the Johannine "community," relation to the Synoptics, composition and intention. Also addressed are Johannine "mysticism," the nature of John's Jesus and questions concerning the prayers' Sitz im Leben. Chapter II examines Johannine prayer terminology. Prayer is important to John though his vocabulary is restricted. The use of er5tan for Jesus' prayers does not mean he prayed differently than others. Chapter III concludes eucharistein has no sacramental sense in 6:11, 23 and explores the Jewish background of the thanksgiving. Chapter IV concludes 11:41-42 has reasonable claims to historicity: having Hodayoth form and reflecting the Synoptic Jesus' prayer habits. Public concern in personal prayer is legitimate. Jesus is heard because of obedience to God's will; the prayer is not docetic pretense. Chapter V shows 12:27-28a has evident connection with the historical Jesus. It reflects his characteristic manner in prayer before the cross and is not a recast Synoptic agony scene. "Rhetorical" views of the prayer are wrong; it represents the greatest crisis Jesus ever faces. The prayer is not "a blind leap of faith," but a rational decision reached during reflection on God's prior faithfulness. Chapter VI concerns John 17. Literary genre and Sitz im Leben are extensively discussed. The "Farewell Speech" characterization seems incorrect. Because of its context and form, the chapter makes the best sense as an intercession. An original Sitz im Leben Jesu is reasonable. Following discussion of the prayer's literary structure, analysis shows the obedience of the intercessor and those prayed for is essential in its argument. Nothing is asked which is outside the Father's will. Prayer is apparently conditional: Jesus' life and prayers are always conformedto God's will. Chapter VII concludes: (1) Obedience trains one to pray accordingto God's will; (2) The glorification of God is the ultimate objective of Jesus'prayers; (3) John's Jesus is not docetic when he prays; (4) The prayers are notparadoxical existential encounters with God; and (5) John's prayer material hadan original setting in Jesus' life. Several practical applications of John'sprayer theology are suggested.