When I'm drivin' in my car
And a man comes on the radio
He's telling me more and more
About some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination
I can't get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that's what I say
I can't get no satisfaction
I can't get no satisfaction
'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
I can't get no, I can't get no
It was first released on June 5, 1965. Lead Vocal: Mick Jagger. Electric Guitars: Keith Richards (lead) and Brian Jones. Drums: Charlie Watts. Bass: Bill Wyman. Background Vocals: Keith Richards. Tambourine: Mick Jagger. It was a hit even if the English guys who sang it used very imperfect English! The language was poorly phrased, but it struck a note and sounded chords that reverberated within a whole class of people. The song has had a shelf life as long as Jagger himself. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song as number 2 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, while VH1 placed it at number 1 on its "100 Greatest Songs of Rock & Roll" list. In 2006 it was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.
Jagger wrote most of the lyrics - a statement about the rampant commercialism that the Rolling Stones had seen in America. Jagger has said of "Satisfaction": "It was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band. … It has a very catchy title. It has a very catchy guitar riff. It has a great guitar sound, which was original at that time. And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kinds of songs … which was alienation."
In our Bible Study and in our constitutional committee we’ve been tackling the
big words” of the Bible – heavy theological terms that are freighted with meaning; words with tons of promise. It occurs to me that there are many people who occupy churches today who know the Rolling Stones tune better than they know the words of God. In fact, they might attend a Stones concert faster and with more life and enthusiasm than they’d show for any worship service and certainly more than other event the church sponsors or observes. It is more of an observation than a criticism, but you may find more people “in one accord” in a rock concert than you would in many average churches. Corner Brook Baptist Church should never become “average” because “average” leans towards mediocrity. We have to strive for excellence.
I want to tackle and reclaim the word “satisfaction.” Long before it was stolen by rock stars and ad agencies and people seeking gratification of all kinds, it was a theological word. What is absolutely amazing to me is that Mick Jagger had it right. He couldn’t find any satisfaction in any of the pursuits for which he has become famous – famous for all the wrong reasons for anyone who cares to take a quick look into his sordid personal life. He’s lived up to the first half of one of his philosophical quotes. Jagger said, "It is all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back." He’s let himself go; that much is evident, but on getting back the jury is still out. It must have been a satisfying moment for Jagger’s celebrity to earn a British knighthood. Yes, that skinny senior citizen is Sir Mick! (He was born on July 26, 1943 which makes him 73! Just so you know his birthday is one day after mine, different years of course!) What outrageous moral sensibilities in Britain! The work of a man like Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, goes almost unnoticed while some oversexed and undernourished rock icon is held up as someone in which Britain ought to take pride. How twisted is that?
The twisted values of this world are why Jesus came in the first place. There is a passage of Scripture which doesn’t use the word, but which underscores the correct use of the word “satisfaction.”
Hebrews 10: 5-7; 11-14: 5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7 Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.' … 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Mick Jagger and Cliff Richards were right: satisfaction is hard to find and alienation, estrangement from God, is really the problem that plagues the soul of humanity. Commercialism and consumerism or materialism is unable to satisfy the deepest longings of the soul. We were not made to be satisfied with things – food, clothing and shelter are necessary, but the existence of our immortal soul creates a need to be satisfied at a level far beyond any human need or human appetite. Alienation is caused by sin. Isaiah 59:2 states: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” We were unfit to experience the presence of God because of this sin. How ironic that humanity is separated from God by sin, but tries to use sinful means to find satisfaction. “Sin when it is finished brings forth death” so the person who tries to be satisfied through illicit pleasure and God-absent living is really only deepening their personal sense of being unfulfilled! No wonder Mick strutted across the stage and screamed out the words of a world without Christ, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”
The Epistle to the Hebrews is written to people who had sought satisfaction in the message of Christ, but were being enticed back to old ways that the message of the Gospel had superseded. They were going back to the practice of the Law and to the re-institution of the sacrificial system. They were about to reject the Lamb of God for the out-dated slaughter of lambs on the altar of sacrifice. Pardon the crudeness of the illustration, but it’s like trading in your current washroom for an outhouse. It’s similar to refusing electricity in favour of kerosene lamps. In terms of the message of Hebrews, the Scripture is very clear: “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” If the writer to the Hebrews re-cast his message to the people of his day he would have cried out to these people “You can’t get no satisfaction!”
A few verses later the writer poses the basis upon which satisfaction is obtained. The Lamb of God – Jesus Christ the crucified – hung on the cross bearing the sins of the world. My sins and yours and the whole world’s were carried by Him; my sins were nailed to the tree and upon Christ as my substitute God poured out His wrath. (Isaiah prophesied: “God laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.) God condemned sin in Christ and killed sin’s power to enslave us. The value and the power of the guiltless and sinless life of Christ was greater than the grip that sin held on humanity and when Christ died my sins were atoned for and God was satisfied! Satisfied that the penalty had been paid in full (by the blood of the Lamb. Free from sin, free to live now I am. And I read on the page where my sins were written down: “Pain in full by the blood of the Lamb!). And if that was not enough, when He arose my world was opened to the possibility of eternal life.
How can I be sure of any of these things? Hebrews gives us a sure word: “When this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” God will not allow a sinner to sit next to Him. The word of God in 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” God was satisfied with what happened on the cross and because He was, we can find our way into His presence, in fact we are invited there. Once Christ has intervened for us, the song is all wrong. It’s no longer “I can’t get no satisfaction!” but now it is this “My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought; my sin not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more … It is well with my soul!”
Oh how the knowledge of His mission must have thrilled the soul of Jesus as He attended the religious festivals and saw the priesthood going through the motions that He would eradicate. How His soul must have been grieved by the lack of satisfaction he saw in the pilgrims that He mingled with who came yearly to the Temple in Jerusalem and did not leave until they had made reservations to come back again the following year to run through the rituals once again. The branches they waved in four directions indicated God’s control, but they still had to make the arduous trek to Jerusalem. Jesus shows such insights into the message of the prophets. His mind grasped that Isaiah 55:1-2 was a prophecy of the day when the Messiah would offer the kind of satisfaction that people only dream was possible. Isaiah wrote of a future day: 1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
In John 7 Jesus was at the final and great day of the Feast of Tabernacles. He had healed and taught and confronted His opponents. He had watched the procession as they went to a source of water and repeated Isaiah 12:3: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” He watched as the water was poured through a funnel and was soaked up by the thirsty ground. He knew these people would be back for the same ceremony in the same place in just a year, but He also knew His own mission. In a moment of silence that was intended to dramatize this important juncture of the feast John writes: 37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Jesus took the words of Isaiah and applied them to Himself. It was a rare moment of self-disclosure. I offer it to you this morning as the source of satisfaction. Which song are we singing in our souls today? Is it Mick Jagger’s lonely tune of alienation? Or have we drunk our full at the wells of salvation? God has been satisfied with Christ. He has provided the remedy for sin. A few weeks ago we sang “Full atonement, can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior.” But is Christ satisfying us or are we trying to satisfy ourselves with what Paul called “the weak and beggarly elements of the world.” Perhaps there are people here today that need to be reminded that God is satisfied with the redemptive work of the cross and when we accept Christ, He is satisfied with us! Perhaps there are others who need to allow Christ to deal with their thirst for living water.