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DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to be disrespectful of Jesus Christ. This is simply something I wanted to write for Easter. I do not own Gargoyles. They belong to Disney. I don't own Jesus Christ or the Disciples. They belong to God. Tacitus is all mine.
Author's Note: Excerpts of this piece are from the NIV Study Bible. I am using scripture from Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42. Tacitus is an original character. He is roughly based upon the historian of the same name from that time period. Tacitus is a young scholar and scribe oathbound to the House of David to protect the male heirs. Tacitus was responsible for watching over Yeshua. If you want to learn more about Tacitus, please read Parts 4-7 of "X and the Single Gargoyle."
A Gargoyle in Gethsemane
Yeshua and his friends walked the long dusty trail at sunset. The tension around them was thicker than a legion of Romans in the temple. It had been a long trip for them all and the hot weather did little to improve short tempers.
He had heard about a lush botanical garden called Gethsemane and longed to find some solace and repose. Peter suggested it might be just the thing for the weary band of travelers after a long day on a dusty road.
Yeshua finally broke his strained reverie. "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
Yeshua felt fear fill him to the very fathoms of his soul. He felt the talons of fright rip away pieces of his soul. He loved his Father and long to do as Abba asked. Yet, it seemed too much for one carpenter from a Roman backwater province. He longed to talk with his dear friends Peter, John and James Zebedee.
He noticed an intricately carved statue of a being with a fierce stance and unfurled wings. With a staff in one hand and a scroll in the other, he seemed rather out-of-place in this very secluded garden. Yeshua deliberately ran his tapered fingers along the contours of the lightly textured stone. How he wished he was that statue instead of a wall hanging for the Romans. He knew that he could count on his friends to get him through this trying time.
[They can give me perspective. I need their strength. I can't make it through this alone.]
They sat there upon large boulders resting against the warm stones as the sun dipped beneath the Western horizon. Yeshua felt the radiance soak through his tunic and gently warm his aching back. Yet, it did nothing to soothe his terrified mind.
Finally, Peter asked with great concern, "Master, I know that his is a trying time for you. We've been friends a long time. Tell me what troubles you? What do you need? What can we do to help?"
Yeshua breathed deeply to calm his twitching nerves. He laid a hand on his friend's shoulder as much to thank Peter as to steady himself from trembling. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch for me."
He needed time alone to collect his composure and gather his thoughts. The young carpenter didn't want his dearest friends seeing him crumble. He walked away into a secluded clearing to try to make sense of the turmoil churning within him. Yeshua felt as though his friends had left him alone and abandoned. He felt shame for his terror. The overwhelming emotions brought him to his knees.
For several minutes, Yeshua sobbed silently as he laid face-down in the soft, sweet grass. It was a gentle comfort that somehow brought him some serenity. Yet, it did little to take away his doubts. He held his face in his hands and sobbed. As the tremors racked his body, he gasped harshly for breath to speak.
"Abba, My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Everything is possible with you. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
The only answer Yeshua received to his ardent prayer was the nocturnal harmony of some nesting birds, chirping crickets and some rather loud riveting from a local frog. Resigned that no one either knew or cared about his trepidation, he chose to return to his friends.
"Sir, are you well?" A concerned voice broke his sorrow.
Yeshua looked up, rather startled to see the statue alive and flesh standing before him. The young carpenter realized this creature to be a Gargoyle. He thought them to be one of the rarest and one of the most spectacular of his Father's creations.
"I am lost."
"Nay, Master." Tacitus spoke kindly to the young man. "You are frightened. God has heard your prayer this night, Son Of Man. He has chosen not to answer in a way you anticipate. But know that His Love is always with you and He shall not leave you. I know you may feel alone, but, He is always with you."
"I wish that I could say the same for my friends."
"Go back to them now, Yeshua of Nazareth." Tacitus replied. He had heard the young man preach many occasions. The words and stories of this talented, insightful rabbi had helped the Gargoyle take stock of his own heart. Because of this gifted healer, prophet, and Messiah, he had chosen to embrace The Way, The Truth, and the Life.
"I'll take your words to heart." Yeshua replied with a wan smile. He slowly walked through the trees until his friend's were in his eye's view. He wanted desperately to talk to his old friend, Simon Peter.
[They won't desert me.]
Yeshua's fear and sadness became a hollow emptiness as a discouraging sight greeted him in the early hours of the night. Lying contented against the large boulders were Peter, John and James. Peter was snoring loudly and James' neck was crooked against John's shoulder.
Yeshua gently shook Peter's shoulder. Peter practically jumped out of his clothing as he came awake with a start. "I'm here! I'm here! What?"
"Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" He sighed sadly and shook his head. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is week."
"Master, I'm sorry! We just nodded off. It was a long trip. I know that's no excuse. We won't let you down again." Peter earnestly reassured his old friend. "Go and meditate. We'll wait for you?"
"Do you promise?" Yeshua asked carefully. His heart never seemed more fragile as it was the integrity of Peter's words that held it together. "Can I count on you?"
"Yes, you can, my friend." Peter reassured him. "We'll keep watch. Go and do what you need to do."
Yeshua felt some relief from Peter's affirmation. It gave him the strength to return to the small grove in the garden. He wanted to feel the fine blades of grass against his skin. It soothed him and gave him a way to sort through his agitated thoughts.
"My father," Yeshua rolled over onto his back and stared into the endless black sea of sky and shining stars. "If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
For moments he counted as many stars as he could see. Yeshua realized that there was no turning back the time. All was decided, now, he had to wait until it all came to pass. [It's best to make due with the time I have. I won't waste these final hours with my friends.]
When he came back, he found the trio sleeping contentedly against the large gray boulders. The heat had drained them of their strength and energy. Yeshua returned to the grove prayed again that God might be merciful to take the cup away from his lips.
"Rabbi, I can protect you." A voice said within the darkness. "You need only say the word. With talon, wing and tail, I will defend you with my life. I beg you! Please don't let them do this to you."
"It is my father's will, Son Of Stone, not mine that decides the course of events." Yeshua replied. "But I thank you for your kind thoughts. I appreciate your presence here in the garden."
Finally, Yeshua had no prayer left in him. The tears were dry and the fear left him emotionally brittle. He was just tired and wanted to rest. As he neared his sleeping comrades, Jesus saw Judas approaching with a band of Roman guards. He knew what that meant and he knew it was time.
[And so it begins.]
"Peter, James, John." He nudged them. "Wake up."
"Five more minutes, Mom." James muttered.
"I'm up! I'm up!" Peter exclaimed as he humped to his feet. He saw the look of pain and sorrow swimming as unshed tears in Yeshua's large brown eyes. Peter hung his head and shame and muttered contritely, "I'm sorry, Master. Please forgive me."
"Are you still sleeping and resting? Look , the hour is near, and the Son Of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer."
A Gargoyle In Gethsemane shed bitter tears that night as he watched a virtuous young man, the Lamb of God led from the beauty and repose of the Garden. A Gargoyle in Gethsemane wept bitter tears as he saw his savior alive for the last time. His heart grew cold when Yeshua was led from the garden by strangers where he would have no one.
It is legend that Gargoyles become stone during the day because it was Yeshua's gift to Tacitus. While stone, the Gargoyle needn't see the young man's pain and feel helpless to protect him. In those final hours upon the cross, did Yeshua find inspiration and example in the devotion of Tacitus?