Better Than The 9-Year-Old Stowaway

Neal Pollard

In a post-9/11 world, how does a 9-year-old boy slip through TSA, a gate agent, and the flight attendants to board a flight from Minneapolis all the way to Las Vegas before being discovered?  That’s what everyone wants to know, but that is what the “street smart” minor did.  Only well into the flight did flight attendants have sufficient suspicion to take action, having him delivered into protective custody once in McCarran Airport in Nevada.  Back in Minnesota, surveillance video showed the boy talking to a gate agent and when she got busy doing something else, he walked down the jet bridge and boarded the plane (some info via  While that might shake our confidence in airport security, we have to be pretty impressed with the savvy and moxie of the little boy to get as far as he did.  He outsmarted a pretty sophisticated series of security measures into which the U.S. Government has poured billions of dollars since 2001.

Can you imagine what the reaction was in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago, when Jesus stayed behind instead of returning with His family’s caravan back to Nazareth.  It took everyone a full day’s journey before detecting that Jesus was not in the group. After three days they found Him in the temple.  Here was Jesus, “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:46b-47).  Of course, the sinless Christ had committed no crime or sin.  His answer to His questioning parents was both respectful and logical (Luke 2:49). “He continued in subjection to them” (Luke 2:51).  How many 12-year-olds would have thought to do what Jesus did, much less in the masterful way in which He did it.  Looking back, we know this was but one of an endless list of things Jesus did which points to His Deity.  In fact, thanks to it being preserved in Scripture, we still talk about this 2,000 years later.

It is remarkable to see what young people can do. It shows how we can underestimate them and sell them short, though we should not. What the boy on a plane did was incredible, but illegal.  What Jesus did in New Testament times was unsurpassed, but not unlawful.  May we hold up the latter as a role model to spur our youth on to dream bigger dreams and do greater things to the glory of God, “wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil” (Rom. 16:19; cf. 1 Cor. 14:20).

2 thoughts on “Better Than The 9-Year-Old Stowaway

  1. Sure have always sympathized with Joseph and Mary. We’ve left one behind before; thank God it was at the church. With not-quite-synchronized schedules, we’d taken two vehicles to church, and each thought the youngest was with the other.
    Similarly, we once went to a tenting conference in the Arkansas Ozarks and left our Bible behind.
    But we remembered the Oreos. 😐

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