Gates in the Bible: Gates of Jerusalem, Part 4: The Fish Gate -- By Sue Ramsey and Lyn Chaffart
In last week's lesson on the gates of Jerusalem, we saw that the first gate mentioned, the Sheep Gate, speaks to us of the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. It is the starting point and also the end of everything. Today's lesson takes us to the next gate mentioned in the series: The Fish Gate.

"The Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah. They laid its beams and put its doors and bolts and bars in place . . ." (Neh 3:3,4 NIV)

The Fish Gate was a gate in the north wall, just a little to the east of the modern Damascus gate. [1] It was the closest gate to the fish market, and it is believed that fishermen from the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River, Jewish and Syrian alike, used this gate to bring fish to market. [2]

So what does a gate used for the purpose of bringing fish to market have to do with us today? Jesus gave us the answer very early on in His ministry, when he called two of His first disciples: "'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will make you FISHERS OF MEN.'" (Matt 4:19-20 NIV)

The Fish Gate speaks to us of evangelism! We have all been called to be "fishers of men"!

This gate's position, after the Sheep Gate that speaks to us of Jesus' gift on the cross, is a natural progression for the Christian life. After seeing that Jesus died for our sins and after accepting His gift of salvation, it is only natural that we would want to tell others about it. In fact, surveys have shown that those who win the most people to the Lord are believers who have been saved for less than two years! Their simple testimony of what Jesus has done in their lives qualifies them to be great "fishers of men"!

But not only is this a natural progression for new believers, it was also a major focus of Jesus' earthly ministry: "He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.'" (Luke 10:2-4 NIV).

Is it any wonder that this was also at the center of Jesus' last direct command before He ascended to Heaven? "THEREFORE GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matt 28:19-20 NIV); "GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOOD NEWS TO ALL CREATION." (Mark 16:15-16 NIV); and "The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'FEED MY SHEEP.'" (John 21:17-18 NIV) In fact, this has come to be known as "The Great Commission!"

Friends, once we have come to know our Lord and Savior, it isn't enough to just sit back and enjoy what we have. We are COMMANDED to tell others about what we've learned!

And why not? We can't be guaranteed that someone else will tell them! If we don't obey the Great Commission, we could be condemning the people we love and care about, the people Jesus died for, to their final punishment in Hell!

Enough to ponder, friends, but do ponder this: After receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are COMMANDED to pass through the Fish Gate, to become "fishers of men", to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ to others.

Join us next week to see what lesson can be learned from the next gate in the wall, the Old Gate.

God bless each of you abundantly.

Sue Ramsey & Lyn Chaffart Volunteers, Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org

[1] from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft on Nehemiah 3:3.

[2] from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. on Nehemiah 3:3.

(To access the entire "Gates in the Bible" mini-series, please click here.)