On March 8 1971, on a night that would arguably be remembered as the pinnacle of his career, Joe Frazier beat Muhammed Ali by unanimous decision at Madison Square Gardens and defended his title as heavyweight champion of the world.

Pete Evans | 21:58, Thursday, 10 November 2011

Joe Frazier beats Muhammed Ali

On Monday, November 7 2011, 'Smokin' Joe' passed away aged 67, succumbing to liver cancer. One of the greatest boxers from the golden generation of heavyweight boxing has sadly passed the way of all of humanity, a poignant reminder that no matter how invincible we may feel, there will come a day when our mortality will catch up with us.

And it’s not just the passing of Joe Frazier from cancer that highlights that truth.  Events on the M5 outside Taunton last Friday night provide us with a sober reminder that death often comes suddenly and unexpectedly. 

Of course, we all know that death is not an acceptable subject to talk about really.  It’s often seen as taboo, something that everyone knows about but no one mentions. But death should not be allowed to remain the ‘elephant in the room’, a subject that is only spoken about on the news or quietly in the corridors of the local A & E. Until we face up to our own mortality and the truth that time moves all of us closer to the day that we die, we will not start to actually address the question that eternally matters. 

What happens when I die?

The prevailing opinion of society is that nothing happens. Our soul ceases to exist and our body is placed in the ground. And that is that. Game over. Eternity is a construct for the fantasists, rather like Father Christmas and World of Warcraft. No one has yet passed through the veil of death and returned to tell us about it, so until that day we must assume that there is nothing else, right?! 


13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 
14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

The Bible’s line is clear; for those who die trusting Jesus, life doesn’t end in death.  Death is like sleep – one day we will wake up again! The resurrection of Jesus is the basis for our great hope in the face of death, that although we die, if we are in Christ we will live. 

My Nanny died 3 years ago.  She died trusting Jesus as her Lord and Saviour.  I will never forget the day of her funeral, partly because we were all really sad that she had gone.  But my overwhelming feeling that day was not one of grief but of certain hope because there is a tomb outside Jerusalem that is empty, a grave that did not imprison it’s captive for ever, and a Saviour, Jesus, who is alive today and is coming again to awaken all who have fallen asleep in Him.

That is truth that, if you believe it, changes your life.  What a God!  The great enemy, Death, who takes the smallest and greatest of us without distinction, is BEATEN by Jesus, Saviour of all who trust in Him.  Therefore we do not grieve like those who have no hope but rejoice that Christ is risen!

(If you would like to know more about Highfields’ Pontprennau Congregation, or if you have any questions about what it means to trust in Jesus, please get in touch with Pete at:


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