2. The Fish Gate (Nehemiah 3:3)
This is the Gate that speaks about evangelism. Fish caught in the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and any trade from the surrounding nations, notably Syria, were brought to Jerusalem for sale at the markets through this Gate. Therefore, after the Sheep Gate, we follow Jesus with a purpose: to become evangelists, missioners, proclaimers and contenders of the faith. Jesus said that he will “make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Here, there is an outward movement of intentional Christian discipleship, a movement of growth in becoming.
In the three verses given to the Fish gate, we read of other people repairing the wall, the ordinary folk and their nobles, all except, that is, the nobles of the Tekoites. The ordinary folk did the work, but the nobles did not. The last words say, “their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.” The word for stoop refers to the neck or shoulders. So some translations will euphemistically refer to their “shoulders” or that they would not “bend their necks”. It seems that despite the monumental effort of almost all the people, there always remains some who would not fully offer themselves in submission to the mission. Nehemiah makes sure that when he wrote this, these “nobles” would have their arrogance exposed in the face of what God was doing!
At the Sheep Gate we are born-again and follow Christ the Good Shepherd and Saviour. At the Fish Gate we obey his word to reach the lost with the Good Shepherd’s Good News about a Good God, and in such a way, we discover God’s good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:2). And to do this we need to be taught and trained, so that we are able to “correctly handle the word of truth” and the things of God (2 Tim. 2:15). And this is the next Gate.