A wall without a gate is simply a block. Gates provide access and actually give use and meaning to a wall. A Christian with a wall and no gate is incomplete. After Nehemiah had completed rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, he immediately took to setting up gates. He says, ‘I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it- though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates’ (Nehemiah 6:1). One would think that once our wall is up, we are free from threats, but the enemy still crouches to hinder us from installing a gate. Nehemiah records, ‘They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed”’ (v9). And so Nehemiah prayed to God, “Now strengthen my hands” (v9), and proceeded with installing the gates around the walls of Jerusalem.
The wall of Jerusalem had many gates, 10 in total which Nehemiah rebuilt. The Valley Gate, Dung Gate, Fountain Gate, Fish Gate, Old Gate, Water Gate, Horse Gate, East Gate, Inspection Gate and Sheep Gate were set in place. Nehemiah then commanded, ‘The gate of Jerusalem is not to be opened until the sun is hot’ (7:v3). Likewise, as Christians, once we set up our gate, it is only to be opened when we are ‘hot’. After we have received our light and heat from the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ (Malachi 4:2). In other words, God has to fill us first before we can overflow to others, for He is our source and not we ourselves. Paul writes, ‘I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize’ (1 Corinthians 9:27) or as Jesus asks, ‘Can a blind man lead a blind man?’ (Luke 6:39).
The gates of Jerusalem provided access in all directions. People coming from the North, South, East, West, and anywhere in between could still enter the City and arrive at the same destination. Then comes Jesus and says, ‘I am the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved’ (John 10:9). Saved from what? Jesus says, ‘For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it’ (Matthew 7:13-14).
Like the inhabitants of Jerusalem who were used to accessing the City using different gates, many now still try to get to God using other means other than the Way and justify it along the way. They fail to make a distinction on the Supremacy of Christ saying, God is one, or, we all worship the same God, big deal. They justify sin saying, God made homosexuals that way, or, who are you to define gender? They even encourage sin by saying, an embryo is not yet a child until in I don’t know how many weeks, or, a mother has the right to choose whether to keep the baby. So when Jesus says, ‘Enter through the narrow gate’ (v13), many scoff and brush it off. However, Jesus still remains as He says; ‘I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).
The names of the gates of Jerusalem were symbolic of the One who was to come and embody all the gates, ‘for in him all things hold together’ (Colossians 1:17). At the Valley Gate, Jesus reminds us that He too is in the valley. To those who disbelief, God says, ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands and you will know that I am the Lord’ (1 Kings 20:28). At the Dung Gate, we are reminded of our filth but Christ reminds us, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’ (Isaiah 1:18). This is ‘so that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’ (Matthew 9:6).
At the Fountain Gate, Jesus appears and says, ‘Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him’ (John 7:38). Solomon attests to this when he writes, ‘The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death’ (Proverbs 14:27). Turning to the Fish Gate, we run into Jesus who says, ‘Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men’ (Matthew 4:19). As we make a beeline to the Old Gate, Jesus says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’ (Jeremiah 6:16). Before you can think: Well, but Jesus came with the white man, consider what Jesus says, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!’ (John 8:58).
At the Water Gate, Jesus beckons, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink’ (John 7:37). Jesus again urges ‘Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life’ (Revelation 22:17). At the Horse Gate, we still meet Jesus who admonishes, ‘You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.” Therefore, your pursuers will be swift’ (Isaiah 30:16). David knew that the ‘Lord is a warrior’ (Exodus 15:3) and so writes, ‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the Lord our God’ (Psalm 20:7). His son, Solomon also writes, ‘The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord’ (Proverbs 21:31).
Heading towards the East Gate, Jesus meets us, ‘so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know that there is none besides me. I am the Lord and there is no other’ (Isaiah 45:6). More than any sun that rises from the East, Jesus is the ‘bright Morning Star’ (Revelation 22:16) who is COMING SOON. At the Inspection Gate, Jesus takes up the role of the priests who when a person had an infectious skin disease, ‘The priest examines him’ (Leviticus 13:3). Jesus, our High Priest ‘for ever in the order of Melchizedek’ (Hebrews 7:17) is not ‘unable to sympathize with our weaknesses’ (4:v15). He inspects the sin in our lives with an intention of cleansing us and so Jesus at the Inspection Gate declares, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners’ (Mark 2:17). Lastly at the Sheep Gate, Jesus says, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep’ (John 10:7). He proceeds with this figure of speech saying, ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’ (v11).
At the end of the day, there is only one Gate, Jesus Christ. Once we give Him access to our lives and He lives in us, He just doesn’t become a gate, but controls what and who can have access into our spirit. So we learn to love what He loves, think how He thinks, and speak how He speaks. In essence, we become ‘imitators of God’ (Ephesians 5:1) because ‘the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living us’ (Romans 8:11). So through Jesus, our one and only Gate, we have access not into earthly Jerusalem, but into the ‘New Jerusalem’ (Revelation 21:2), the City of God.