The question makes me think of someone asking me “how do you love your wife?” Well, I can’t answer that in a simple statement, or even in logical terms at all. We have poetry to help us understand questions like this and you can see it most in what I do and how I treat her.
The same can be said for the question “What did Jesus do on the cross?”. It can’t be adequately described or understood in words. Not that we shouldn’t try, but ultimately all the doctrinal statements to describe what Jesus did, while they may be true, although I would disagree with some of the common statements, they fall short, and not just a little short. They fall short by lightyears. Just like saying I love your mother a lot falls short of describing our bond.
This is why Jesus, often, speaks in narrative terms rather than firm doctrinal statements, because language falls short of the immense truth. Instead scripture paints pictures of what Jesus did and each one illuminates reality a little more. That is why there are so many different pictures and metaphors that are used. Not any one picture is wrong, but none of them are completely right either. Each story tells the truth from another perspective. Just like 5 people may all see the exact same thing but tell about it differently because they each had a different line of site, a different angle on the event. Not one of them is wrong, but together they each tell a more complete story.
Knowing each of the perspectives that scripture give of what took place on the cross, and I don’t mean the physical events, I mean what took place in the spiritual realm, will give you a deeper and richer understanding of what our God did for us that day. Did he die to save us from our sins? Yes, of course! But he did much more than that too, and to stop there would not do it justice.
Not even a lifetime will be enough to understand this mystery in full. I suspect we will spend all of eternity fathoming the depths of what Jesus did on the cross.