Rob Bell begins his book Sex God by talking about the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob, the younger and cleverer twin, cheats his hirsute and impulsive older brother out of a birthright and their father’s blessing. It’s too long a story to tell here, but it’s a great one if you haven’t read it (Genesis 25-27). Then when Esau realizes he’s been duped, he vows to use his considerable brawn to end the life of his conniving brother. So Jacob has to run away from home.

At one point on his journey, Jacob stops for the night, and he has a dream in which there is a staircase that reaches up to the heavens. He sees that angels—messengers of God—are ascending and descending it. The idea of the dream is that God’s world and our world are connected—that God is at work in spite of Jacob’s less than exemplary behavior.

When Jacob wakes up, he says to himself, “Surely the LORD is in this place and I didn’t know it.” So he calls the place “Beth El” (house of God) and builds an altar out of rocks as a monument to God’s appearance. The idea is that the pile of rocks is not just a pile of rocks. It’s a sign, a symbol—something that points away from itself to something greater.

Bell goes on to say that a lot of things in our lives are about more than just the thing that they appear to be on the surface and that it’s definitely true of our sexuality. He says:

“You can’t talk about sexuality without talking about how we were made. And that will inevitably lead you to who made us. At some point you have to talk about God…Sex. God. They’re connected. And they can’t be separated.”

In our passage for today, Jesus says the same thing. Adultery is about more than just adultery. Just like murder is about more than murder and making oaths is about more than making oaths. Jesus is interested in more than just the surface issue. He always wants to get to the heart of the matter. He always wants us to ask ourselves: “What’s going on in there?
Robert Lee