In his preaching to the crowds, St Peter interpreted Psalm 16 as a prophecy that Christ (in Hebrew, Messiah) would rise from the dead. After quoting the Psalm, he said: “David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, “He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.” (Acts 2:22-31) St Paul referred to the Psalm in a similar way (Acts 13:32-26).
The Psalm, which is traditionally credited to King David, may have originally been a prayer for the preservation of the life of the author. But as both SS. Peter and Paul said, it also has a deeper meaning, as a forecast that Christ would one day rise again.
The scroll running along the base of this stained glass scene of the Resurrection reads Et resurrexit tertia die secundum Scripturas. This Latin phrase is taken from the Nicene Creed, which is said during Mass. The English translation is that Christ “rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (cf 1 Corinthians 15:4). It means that the future resurrection of Christ was somehow ‘hinted’ at in the Old Testament, in this and other passages.
This apse window of Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, is by the stained glass studio Hardmans and dates to 1909. It is one of a set of three that illustrate gospel stories; the other two are the Annunciation and Crucifixion. It tells many aspects of the Resurrection story, in what had become a fairly conventional way. This includes the arrival first of the women carrying spices at the tomb, St John and St Peter following on later, the terror of the guards and the victory of Christ over death (symbolised by the banner).
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Where to find this work of art
Sacred Heart, Wimbledon
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On a similar theme
- From the Old Testament: When Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command, he showed that he had faith in the resurrection (Hebrews 11:19).
- From the New Testament: After raising Lazarus from the dead, Christ proclaimed himself to be ‘the Resurrection and the Life.’