My husband and a few friends were in Cuba some time ago. Together with local believers, they visited homes in small villages. They were welcomed in by curious Cubans. Over and over, Lee and his team told the "bad news, good news" story of Jesus. (The bad news is that we have all sinned. The good news is that Jesus paid the penalty for sin.)
The Holy Spirit moved in hundreds of Cubans' lives. In one rural village, a young man who had just given his life to Christ went out into the unpaved road in front of his house, waving his arms and yelling to his neighbors. ¡Venido aqui! "Come here!" he shouted. ¡Tengo buenas noticias! "I've got good news!" ¡Usted ti tiene que oir esto! "You've got to hear this!"
In America, we tend to tell our neighbors how thankful we are if we get a great deal on deck furniture or find a big sale on gas grills. We would do well to strip off our sophistication, remember in thanks our own rescue, and get back to the really good news like our brother in Cuba—or that first-century leper whom Jesus healed.
In Jesus' day, leprosy and other skin diseases were cause for terrible fear and shame. Lepers were ostracized and could return to their community only if a priest declared them fit. Old Testament law held that a person "with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean!' As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp" (Lev. 13:45-46).
One day about two thousand years ago, Jesus is on the road when ten tattered lepers call to him from afar. They dare not draw nearer.
"Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
Jesus' heart moves ...1