Going Up?

I am a very logical thinker, which affects everything I see and do.  For instance, when in a new place, if I have access to a map as we travel, I am able to lock that logical and organized information into my memory bank.  It becomes my reference when remembering various places I’ve been, and I “see” places as being up or down, to the right or left on that two-dimensional mind-map.  Thus, if I am in the north of a country, I talk about going down to something that is farther south (on the map).  Likewise, I would only speak of going up when heading north.  Why am I telling you all this?  To explain my confusion as I read about going up to Jerusalem in the Bible after I had been there in person.

I never noticed this phrase so much before, though I’d read the passages many times.  The ones of particular interest were of Jesus in Capernaum or Nazareth speaking of going up to Jerusalem.  These places are north of Jerusalem, so why would He say go up when He’d be going down?  Immediately around Jerusalem, it is true that you have to go up to get there, due to the hilly terrain and Jerusalem being on one of those hills.  Perhaps the people had all been there for the annual sacrifices, and would relate to climbing the hills and steps to enter the gates.  Also, Jerusalem is higher than many of the other places of the Bible in altitude above sea level, but, did they use that information then???

All this makes me wonder if it the statements might be more of a spiritual declaration, one that most people living then would have had no trouble grasping.  They understood Jerusalem was the place of the temple, with the Holy of holies, where the Messiah was to be, and where the ark of the Presence of God was currently housed.  For them, maybe it was a place to which they had to ascend, spiritually, no matter where they were, physically.

I’m sure there’s something more to know of Jesus Christ in this, and I ask for your help.   Below are a few references from both the Old and New Testament that speak of going up to or down from Jerusalem.  Use these or any others, and send a comment with your insights – simple or complex.  Thanks in advance for helping all of us know Him more!

Old Testament Selections:

  • 2 Chronicles 36:23
  • Ezra 1:11
  • Zechariah 14:17-18

New Testament Selections:

  • Matthew 20:17-18
  • Luke 2:41-42
  • John 2:12-13, 5:1, 11:55
  • Acts 15:1-2, 21:12, 24:1, 25:1-9
  • Galatians 1:17-18
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4 thoughts on “Going Up?

  1. Interesting thought, especially when you look at why Jesus was headed to Jerusalem (not up to) in that Matthew verse. He was headed there to suffer. While the end result was certainly amazingly wonderful spiritually, what He was headed there for was going to expose the lack of life in so many.

    Thanks for digging – would love to keep this up (and any others, as well!)

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  2. Stacy Clark

    Okay so here are some (very scattered) thoughts rolling around up there:

    John 7:10 (depending on which translation you look at NIV vs. Amplified vs. KJV) ) it also says “up” at a time where Jesus was going to Jerusalem for (what?) the Feast of Tabernacles… (?) Would that indicate a spiritual as well as physical journey… In contrast there is Matthew 16:21 where it just says “go to Jerusalem” (comparing a few translations also)
    So would these other times in Scripture with the “up” indicate a time of Passover or Feast which would include the spiritual journey of going “up to Jerusalem” along with the physical of going “to” Jerusalem.

    What do you think?

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  3. Stacy Clark

    At the risk of being totally unrelated, I thought I would write about something that your post brought to mind that I still think about from time to time.

    While on our tour in Israel one day, I do believe it was outside the old city before we were to go inside the walls, one of the people in our small group asked a question of the guide. He answered in English as he spoke very good English but was having a hard time finding the right word. His answer seemed to satisfy whoever had asked, but he still continued to try and explain. He gave the English word again, but then closed his fist, put it to his chest, and gave the Hebrew word for what he was trying to explain. Going back to the English he tried to get the message across again, but it was obvious he thought he had failed in the attempt. He said the Hebrew word again and then said it has such a deeper meaning than any word he could think of in English. Now, if only I could remember what the question was or what he was talking about at the time, it may mean a little more. Maybe it was just the expression on his face and the body language during his explanation, but it’s something I still think about. And of all the things I remember about the trip – the places and things we saw those few days – this is one of the things I remember without a picture to go with it! Just makes me wonder how much we miss by reading just the English text sometimes, even with all the translations, commentaries, concordances, etc. we have.

    It’ll be neat to look at the Scriptures you have here and see what there is to see. Thanks for the thought provoker.
    Let us go ‘up to Jerusalem’ to find the answers.

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