Christ's Suffering and Gibson's Profit

Can I add anything to the discussion of Mel Gibson's movie (that I haven't seen)? Yes. Many of the theater-goers' comments I've read from those who were professed Christians and who liked the movie went something like, "This movie helped me appreciate the suffering that Christ went through for my salvation."Of course, the physical manifestation of Christ's suffering is just a very small aspect of his nature, and it's the one that unarguably Gibson focused on. Christ's physical suffering is an analog of his spiritual suffering. Christ's supreme act, if you choose to believe it, is that he took all of the sin of the world -- all of its suffering -- onto himself. It's one thing to carry a cross for miles and be nailed to it. No fun, I agree. But it's entirely another to experience the sin of billions of people across all time past and present (if you support that interpretation). Let us say, unimaginably more painful. That, as I understand it, is his transcendental act. The act that transformed the very human son of God into a vessel that allowed him to assume his place at his Father's side, a nice Jewish boy going into his dad's business. There is a sect of Judaism that coincidentally believes that there is a hell for Jews (I'm still not clear on heaven) in which you spend 700 years. But every moment of hell for you, you experience the cumulative pain of all mankind many times over. It's Christ times 700 years. The focus on the physicality of Christ's suffering in Gibson's movie seems very much like a child's storybook version of Christ' life. Jean Piaget, the great child development expert, posited stages in child development that start with the concrete and, for well-raised functional children, move into the abstract. Gibson's focus on the concrete part of Christ's pain excludes the much more abstract and important part: his assumption of a pain far beyond any pain that we could imagine but that he is supposed to have assumed on our behalf. There are probably tens of millions or more people who have suffered more intensely and longer physically than Christ did. But the fundament of the religion is that no one could suffer more spiritually than he did.