To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” Revelation 3:7
TODAY is Palm Sunday, and all over the world, church congregations are celebrating with uplifted voices and uplifted palm leaves. They celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Messiah — an event that quickly turned sour, as Christ’s ‘followers’ sobered to the truth that Jesus would not immediately seize control and roust Rome, but that He intended to die.
That auspicious day began with a visit to a resurrected Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. No doubt, the people in the area knew the story well — this Nazarene raised Lazarus from the dead! Surely, he will use his powers against the Romans! — and so the news apread to Jerusalem that the ‘miracle worker’ was coming to town for Passover.
Imagine the thoughts in the minds of Jesus’ disciples when He commanded them to secure a colt! These men knew well the prophecy contained in Zechariah 9:9:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
Whispers, rumors, speculation and exhultation flew from house to house, rooftop to rooftop. Could this be the moment foretold by the prophets? Could the Nazarene be the Messiah? Would he enter through the Eastern Gate?
Neh. 3:29 “…the gate that looketh toward the east: And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.”
The ‘Eastern Gate’ is known today as the Golden Gate — no, not the one in San Francisco. This beautifully arched double gateway is the only one of eight gates that is not open in Jerusalem. Fearing the prophecy in Nehemiah, Arabs long ago sealed up this gate (called Sha’ar harachamim in Arabic). By doing so, they inadvertently fulfilled scripture:
Ezekiel 44:1-3 “Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. And he said to me, “This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.”
How sad that the glorious day that began long ago — a day when Jesus offered himself as Messiah — ended in rejection by God’s chosen people. Since that day, the hearts and minds of the Jewish people have been as closed and shut as the Golden Gate. However, God has promised to open their hearts — and He will again turn His face toward Jerusalem. The King will re-enter that gate — perhaps His very presence will blast it open! — and the world will enter the Millennial reign of Christ.
That sealed gate in Jerusalem represents the closed-mindedness not only of the Jewish people but of the entire world. But God’s ‘door of salvation’ is open — if you choose to believe. Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If not, please seek Him today! That door will not always remain open.
“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Jesus Christ died for you and for me just days after entering that Eastern Gate on Palm Sunday. And He rose again — praise God! Without that resurrection, we would have nothing. Jesus Christ will return — soon — and He will again walk through the Eastern Gate, only this time He will claim His rightful inheritance as King.
Consider Christ this week — get to know the Redeemer personally by asking Him into your heart. He has put before us an open door to Salvation — walk through before it closes.