The Puzzle of the Prayer: A Study of John 17
Diehl, Judith A
This thesis is an investigation into the literary features of the prayer in John 17. Often called the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus,” this traditional title for John 17 does not adequately cover the depth of significance and meaning realized in the prayer. The main chapters of the investigation include characterization, structure and setting, style and imagery, the genre of the Farewell Discourses and the form of the prayer itself. The prayer is used by the Gospel author to summarize and emphasize key themes and motifs for the benefit of the author’s intended readers. The author intentionally broke from the narrative story and included extensive discourse material, including this prayer, to encourage and inform the community of Christfollowers to whom he wrote. In a dramatic way, the prayer reflects the fulfillment of redemptive prophecies from the past and guarantees a new relationship between God and his people, sealed in the person and the work of Jesus. The prayer promises the benefits of “eternal life” to the people who receive the words of Jesus. Chapter 17 is a critical literary “hinge” that informs the reader in two directions, past and future. John 17 is a promise and a hope, positioned as a rhetorical, epideictic conclusion, for the encouragement of the Gospel readers past, present and future.