cowboy on bucking bronc

The TV show “Yellowstone” has triggered a resurgence in the popularity of being a cowboy. This isn’t anything new really, as the spaghetti westerns of the 50’s and 60’s inspired many kids (and probably adults) to want to be a cowboy as well. But to the “untrained eye” it may be hard to tell the “real” cowboys from the “wannabes”

There has always been some sayings in regards to those who dress the part, but really know nothing about being a cowboy: “all hat and no cattle”, “all boots and no saddle”, and I can think of at least a half dozen songs off the top of my head that talk about either wishing to be a cowboy, or not wishing they were a cowboy, or ‘wannabe’ cowboys.

One of my favorites of those songs is “Don’t Call him a Cowboy” by Conway Twitty. The main line of the chorus says “don’t call him a cowboy until you’ve seen him ride”. In other words, the skills and abilities gained from first-hand experience are what set the authentic cowboys apart from the “wannabes”.

Being an authentic cowboy carries with it a level of authority that only comes through first-hand experience; things like how to take care of cattle, how to rope, and good horsemanship, just to name a few. For example, if you were just starting out as a rancher and needed to go to someone for advice, who would you ask? Probably not just some guy you ran into somewhere that has on a pair of boots, but and old cowboy that has “been there, done that”.  The level of authority he has on the subject of ranching is because of his own personal experiences.

This makes me think of a scripture in Matthew when Jesus is teaching and the people were amazed at his authority, unlike their teachers of the law. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”. Matthew 7:28-29

Jesus had a level of authority that the teachers of the law didn’t because he was authentic. Jesus didn’t just know the scriptures; he essentially was the scriptures. He had first-hand experience in all of them and fully understood what they meant. He didn’t need to interpret them like the teachers of the law did: he witnessed the experiences that they were written about. John 1:1-4 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” (We understand Jesus as “The Word” that is mentioned here.) This is probably one of the reasons the Jewish leaders hated Jesus so much – his level of authority and understanding made them look bad.

Recently at church we had a sermon on the miracles of Jesus. If there was any evidence that Jesus was who he says he was, it’s shown in the miracles he performed. Multiple healings, feeding thousands with just a boy’s lunch, calming a storm, and turning water into wine, just to name a few. This wasn’t just a man that could “talk the talk”. He could “walk the walk”.

You can trust Jesus’ authority because he is authentic.