The Heir of All Things
“Whom he appointed the heir of all things.” Hebrews 1: 2
The best things in our culture image who God is. Those things are not merely human inventions, they are God’s gifts to humanity so that when God explains himself to us, we have categories by which we can understand him. So when the author speaks of Jesus being the heir, we understand what he means. Everything the father has, the Son has. And although Jesus is Creator, through his finished work God also appointed him the heir of all. He alone is worthy to inherit the Father’s kingdom.
What is Jesus the inheritor of? Well, in Psalm 2, God says to the Son, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” The New Testament says, “all things were created for him,” and “to him are all things.” So Jesus inherits the world and everything in it.
But there’s a deeper insight the author wants us to see. There is good news for us here. When Jesus became a man and therefore inheritor, he brought with him the possibility of us inheriting something of God as well. The author highlights this in chapter 2, quoting from Psalm 8—a Psalm about mankind. “You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now, the Psalmist says that’s who you are.
Wait a minute. That doesn’t sound right, does it? You probably don’t feel like you’re crowned with glory and honor, do you? You don’t see everything in subjection under your feet. You can’t tame the storms. You can’t even tame your heart. But Jesus can. And Psalm 8 is ultimately about you because it’s ultimately about Jesus. Jesus inherits all things, including you. When he inherits you and grants you faith, he places you in himself and you get what he has, which includes, amazingly, glory and honor and rule over the world. This doctrine reminds us that every promise God has made will come to pass in and through and for Jesus Christ.
Jesus doesn’t lord his inheritance over you. He serves you with it, giving you a portion along with him. Why? Because he loves you! You aren’t his property like a slave. You’re his joy like family.
When we’re saved, Jesus unites us to himself and makes us, as Paul says in Romans 8, co-heirs with Christ. But that happens because Jesus first united himself to us, making himself human. For all the good things Jesus inherited, when he came to earth, he inherited something else—our inheritance from Adam. Now, he was conceived of the Holy Spirit, so he wasn’t born with original sin like we are. But by becoming human, Jesus willingly partook of the same things as us, and on the cross, the Father gave him the inheritance due to us so that in the resurrection he could give us the inheritance due to him.
Jesus is the heir of all things, and that all things includes you, but to get you he had to pay for your sins. And on the cross he did.