Lift up Your heads, O You Gates!

We started to look at Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem last time  (“Enemies inside the Gate“), what He meant by victory, and just who is our real enemy. Jesus also said the following in Luke’s account of His entry into Jerusalem, just days before His betrayal and crucifixion, which is instructive to us:

41 When Jesus caught sight of the city, he burst into tears with uncontrollable weeping over Jerusalem, 42 saying, If only you could recognize that this day peace is within your reach! But you cannot see it. (Luke 19:41-42 TPT*)

The questions for us here are, why did the crowd not recognize the peace that was within their reach, and what was it that they could not see?

Before we get to that, this scene from Jesus’ trumphial entry into Jerusalem is also poignantly connected to another prophetic event. King David, when fleeing from his son, Absolam, also wept over Jerusalem because of a betrayal.

30 So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up. (2 Sam.15:30 NKJV)

Betrayal from the one you love is the deepest wound of all. Jesus would know this well. The very people He came to save were going to be shouting, “Crucify Him!” in just a few short days.

I talked last time about what the people probably thought when they shouted, “Bring the victory, Lord, Son of David!”, and how their idea of victory and enemies was very different than Jesus’ idea of victory and enemies. In this account, we Jesus lamenting their lack of perception and understanding.

To help explain why, here is John’s account surrounding this same event:

37 Even with the overwhelming evidence of all the many signs and wonders that Jesus had performed in front of them, his critics still refused to believe….

40 God has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts to the truth. So with their eyes and hearts closed they cannot understand the truth nor turn to me so that I could instantly cleanse and heal them. (Luke 19:37, 40 TPT*)

First, this passage tells us something important about perception. A closed heart is a closed mind. This is why it’s futile to talk to people about God whose hearts are not open. It’s funny that skeptics always demand evidence for God’s existence, but evidence will never make a person believe, because we believe with the heart (Rom.10:10).

The scoffer says, “I will believe it when I see it“; but the truth is, you won’t see until you believe.

Second, it’s a bit confusing to our modern minds when it says that God hardened their hearts. It simply means that He “gave them over” to what they wanted (see Rom.1:21-32). They refused to believe, so He let them close their hearts to the truth. Their confirmation bias became their self-fulfilling expectation.

So, what was it that did not allow God’s own people to recognize the day of their visitation? Was it not the condition of their hearts? For Jesus was speaking of an entirely different kind of victory and peace, and a different kind of gate that needs to be opened to Him if we’re going to understand anything He has for us.

14 But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor.2:14 NASB*)

The “gate” that Jesus is wanting to enter into is the “gate” of our heart, the seat of our affections. Indeed, the heart is the gateway to everything. Again, it’s with the heart that we believe. It’s the condition of our heart that determines the course of our life (Prov.4:23). And when our heart is open, we are able to receive from God, even those things we don’t fully understand with our mind.

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle. (Psalm 24:7-8 NKJV)

This is the only question that remains: is your heart open or closed to the One who made you, the One who came to set you free and give you true peace? If you lift up your heart, this King of glory—the Lord strong and mighty—will come in, and then you will truly see.

* All emphasis added.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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9 Responses to Lift up Your heads, O You Gates!

  1. Tricia says:

    Excellent post for this Holy Week Mel, thank you.

  2. Beautiful! Well done, Mel. Keeping our hearts soft to the things of God is really important and usually kind of painful. Jesus wouldn’t weep, (and David,) if their hearts weren’t soft and they weren’t being betrayed by people close to them. So love is risky and it comes with a price.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You are exactly right, IB. Love is very risky! Imagine God, who IS love, risking it all by creating us, knowing full well that we could reject His love, that we would go our own way to our own hurt, and that we would end up in bondage. That has got to be the ultimate poignant sadness. We may feel a little bit of that when our own child rejects our love.

      That’s why I like the definition of “God’s wrath” as His Parental “NO!!!!” when He sees his children being kidnapped by evil and being put in bondage. This is why He had to do something about it, sending His Son on a rescue mission.
      And that’s the message of Easter. Praise God! 🙂

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    You’ve talked about the giving over and hardened hearts! Often today that’s not popular to talk about even in Christian circle. Thanks!

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