There are two topics that we need to discuss today. One is the Nazirene and what that means and who was a Nazarene in Biblical history. The second is the priestly blessing which is incredibly powerful. In the Bible we see that Samson the judge was a Nazirite. This is why he had long hair and was required to abstain from alcohol. Those were two of the commandments that they had to follow: no hair cutting, no drinking alcohol, and they had to keep themselves ritually pure which meant not getting close to any dead bodies. The term means technically: "set apart". A Nazirite was someone who was set apart to do the will of God. There was also Samuel who was Nazirene and was set apart from birth and grew up to be a very powerful and important high priest.
There is some debate as to whether John the Baptist or Jesus or Paul were Nazirites. I would say no, Jesus was called someone who didn't hesitate to drink alcohol. There are other reasons. But each of them, and each of us as we think about it, are called to be "set apart" for the work of the Lord. Each one of us is called to make a vow of obedience to the Lord. How that vow is lived out depends primarily on each one of us. Some of us may choose not to drink alcohol, some of us may choose to not cut our hair, some of us may choose to maintain ritual purity. But we do not, in the New Covenant under Jesus, have a specific path we have to follow in order to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Just love him and have a personal relationship with him. How that plays out in our lives will be different for each person.
We can't miss the very powerful Priestly benediction which we find in vs.24-26. Some pastors only use these verses when they give their benedictions. I love it and it has power because of its antiquity and because of its authenticity. Let me leave you with it today:
The Lord Bless you and keep you
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace