Nehemiah's story of rebuilding the wall is a stunning representation of Jesus Christ and His efforts to build the church. Throughout the passages Christ's ministry and characteristics are clearly evident. Sacrifice, compassion, faith, determination, justice, and leadership are the prime elements that stood out.
Nehemiah was known as the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes I of Persia. Cupbearer's responsibility is to taste wine before it is served to the king. Thus, Nehemiah must have have known the risk of being in that position as sometimes it can be laced with poison. His willingness to serve in that role is the same humility we find in Jesus who served mankind knowing the crucifixion lies ahead. It is this servant attitude that triumphs over the concern for their own lives.
Next, Nehemiah used his influential position not to gain personal riches but to intercede for his community as we see in Nehemiah 2:4-5. This is what Jesus did for us and continues to do so (John 17, Romans 8:34, and Hebrews 7:25). They both had a concern for their people and wanted to do something about it. Nehemiah left the comfort of the palace to visit the ruins and in Philippians 2 we read Jesus emptying himself to serve man.
Nehemiah finally does a survey of Jerusalem and witnesses its desolate condition similar to Jesus looking at Jerusalem and weeping (Luke 19:41-44). Their concern was not the physical walls or the city in itself but its spiritual condition. They both didn't just stop there but encouraged a few people to start the work while they led. Their work started also on similar fashion in that Nehemiah started with the Sheep's Gate section of the wall where lambs were brought in for sacrificing while Jesus started with the Cross. Both portray the atoning work of Christ which is the corner stone of the formation of the church. On a side note if you also pay close attention to the sequence of the rebuilding you can see the wall is being built in a straight line which is a reminder that God builds His church in an orderly manner. It may seem chaotic and unorganized but He is perfectly putting the puzzle together of His children worldwide.
It's fairly obvious from the lives of Nehemiah and Jesus, it embodies the desire of God in seeking reconciliation with man. He never gives up on His people by pursuing them and was willing to sacrifice His own Son for the same. Unfathomable!