Eating Alpha #10. Spiced Plum Messiah Cake
Updated: May 21
Eating Alpha Video # 10, Does God Heal Today?
"I knew it wasn't real when that dude claimed he was healed, stuff like that doesn't happen" my friend loudly proclaimed as we watched a late-night tv commercial for a new miracle product. I smiled and agreed it seemed ridiculous that something so easy to do could cure terminal illnesses or counter life long diseases. The western world has always found its base for knowledge in logic and reason. Logic and reason tell us that people don't just get healed by a word or a simple action that isn't our lived experience or what we expect. Yet, the Bible is full of stories of Jesus, and even later his disciples and followers, healing people even raising people from the dead. Sometimes with nothing more than a word or a simple action using everyday materials like mud or oil. For most of that seems ridiculous and leads people to wonder if Christians in the past could do these things through the power of God. Does God still heal today?
The first instinct for every person, even many dedicated Christians, when confronted with the question does God still heal, is to cry out no, no, no, of course not, that's something from the distant past. Things like that don't happen today in our age of science and reason and logic. Yet, the Bible says directly that this isn't the case. The apostle James puts it clearly in a letter he wrote, which is contained in the Bible "If any of you are sick, they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick" (James 5:14-15, CEB). This and passages like it proudly proclaim that yes, God does still heal, and in fact, when you begin to ask around in the church, you will all find stories of healing. Our own Chef Gary has a remarkable story of healing, which you can read here.
Some of you may wonder why this passage calls for a person wanting healing to be anointed with oil? In the Bible, oil, especially fragrant anointing oil, often served as a visible symbol representing the Holy Spirit. When Kings and Priests were being established, they were often anointed with oil to show that God was present with them through the Holy Spirit. One of the most common names given to Jesus in the New Testament is Messiah or in Hebrew, "Masiach" meaning Anointed One. It can also be translated as "the one who anoints with oil." This was to indicate Jesus's special status as the one chosen by God to save and heal His people. Healing people was a significant part of His ministry.
One of my favorite stories of the Bible involves a blind man who Jesus healed. When asked what evidence he had of Jesus coming from God, the man answered, "This one thing I know, I was blind, and now I see."
So does God still heal? The Bible says He most certainly does and even commands Christians to pray for it. So why don't we see more healing in the modern world? I believe that the Apostle James, the brother Jesus, might have the answer for us from his words a little later in that same letter I quoted earlier "you have not, because you ask not."
This week we will be making a simple olive oil cake with a twist. Instead of using regular olive oil, we will be making and using our very own anointing oil. There will be plenty left over for you to bottle and use to anyone you want to pray over. Perhaps, you or someone you know are in need of healing right now. Why not anoint that person and pray for their healing. Trusting God at His word is the first step towards answered prayer.
Reflection by Ryan McDonald
Recipe by Gary Stevenson
Recipe Tested by Sarah Pynn
A Note from Chef Gary and the Eating Alpha Team: To decrease time on this dish we recommend making the anointing oil and mulled plums the night before.
Skill level: Moderate
Anointing oil and Mulled Plum Prep: 20 min
Oil & Plum cook time: 1hour
Cake prep: 20 Min
Bake Time, 1hour
Decorating: 15 min
1or 2 small glass bottles for storing and sharing your anointing oil. Measure the amount they will hold. 2 small spice jars with screw top lids will work.
Two 8” round cake pans or one 9” deep pan.
Instant read thermometer
Fine mesh strainer
Toothpicks or cake tester
Double boiler or Bain Marie. You can also use a metal mixing bowl that fits over a pot.
Sharp Chef knife
Box grater or micro plane.
Anointing Oil Ingredients
1 1/2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus the amount your bottles will hold for the anointing oil you will reserve.
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 pinch ground Allspice
3 whole cloves or 1/4 teaspoon of ground gloves
1 teaspoon chopped ginger root
2 strips of lemon rind
2 Strips of orange rind
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground
2 Cardamom Pods Crushed
Anointing Oil Method
Simmer the above ingredients in a pot on medium low heat for 2 hours. Let it cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Pour into a Mason jar and use according to the recipe below reserving 1 1/4 cup for the cake. and a 1/4 cup for anointing oil.
Consecrating your oil:
What makes your infused Olive oil anointing oil? Prayer. You don’t have to be a Priest, Reverend or Rabbi to consecrate your oil. As a Christian you have the authority of the Holy Spirit to do it yourself. Simply pray over your oil and ask God to bless it and use it for His purposes. Jesus regularly used physical objects to communicate Kingdom ideas, including bread, wine and oil. Pray over your oil before you add it to the cake batter and bottles. Trust that He will use it according to His will and purpose.
“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, ESV
Mulled Plum Ingredients
2 cups plum/prune nectar
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/4 teaspoon ground Allspice