One of the central issues that Christian theology and ethics must face is the question of why Jesus, who by all accounts was an extraordinarily kind, generous, and merciful person, found himself is such conflict during his life–ending with his execution in the most torturous, humiliating way imaginable. To take this question seriously is to engage the issue of our own faith and the role it plays in our way of living in the world.
Here is an article I published about ten years ago that reflects on this issue. Jesus came to be seen as the Christ, a title that literally meant “King.” In the story of Jesus’ birth in Matthew’s gospel, we encounter another king, known as Herod the Great. Comparing and contrasting these two kings, especially in relation to the categories of scarcity and abundance, provides important insights into Jesus’ way of life, his conflict with the powers that be, and the shape lives modeled after his might take.