1982 (written about 1930)
The principal divisions of this gospel seem to be, chapters 1-4, 5-7, 8-9, 10-12, 13-18, 19-23, 24-25, 26-28.
Matthew 1-4: First we have recorded the events from the birth of our Lord to the commencement of His public ministry.
Matthew 1: Records His birth of the seed of David and of Abraham, as we learn from Romans 15:8, to confirm the promises unto the fathers.
Matthew 2: He is owned as King and honoured as such. All events of lowliness as found in the Gospel of Luke are omitted here. In that Gospel He is the vessel of Grace, in this Gospel of Matthew He is the vessel of Promise — the King, and is accorded regal honours.
Matthew: 3: Shows His way being prepared by John the Baptist according to Isaiah 40:3, culminating in His own baptism, in which He identified Himself with the remnant of His people. This was followed by His official anointing in view of His public ministry. One thing remains: is He capable of bringing in the blessing of His people? Thus, in Matt. 4, we see Him tested and completely victorious over the enemy, the devil. He overcomes as Man; Son of David; Son of Man; the three spheres He fills and which are developed in this Gospel.
Matthew 5-7: In these chapters we have the King setting before His disciples the principles of the Kingdom, also at this early date presenting it with His rejection in view.
In Matthew the Kingdom is always looked at as at hand, never as set up, He is prepared for His rejection and for this He prepares His disciples.
Matthew 8-9: If in chapters 5-7 we have the word of the Kingdom, in these two chapters we have the power of it. First the word declaring the moral principles, then the exercise of power demonstrating His ability to effect it. Everything is now ready to set up the Kingdom and He has proved His power to bring it in.
Matthew 10-12: Chapter 10: Here we find He commissions His disciples to go and proclaim that it is at hand (verse 7). They have both the authority to preach the word of it, and to exercise its power (verses 7 and 8). Yet again, He prepares them for rejection. This is the Gospel which the remnant shall take up at the close of the present dispensation. C.f. verse 23 with verses 40-42 and compare with Matt. 25:31-46.
Matthew 11-12: As foreshadowed by our Lord in chapter 10, so we find in chapter 11, the testimony is rejected. Hence we find the Lord upbraiding the cities where the mightiest testimony had been rendered, but they rejected it and by doing so they rejected Him — the King is in rejection. Yet, worse is to follow, for in Matt. 12, He rejects them. Solemn indeed that they should reject Him — but how dreadful that He should reject them!
The Lord then warns them of the seriousness of the road they were embarking on (verses 31-37), referring prophetically, I think, to their impending rejection of the Holy Spirit's witness, and their stoning of His voicepiece, Stephen! Then in the picture of His mother and His brethren, He breaks His links with Israel after the flesh, (46-50). This is the main division of this Gospel. Note: for the first time, verse 14, in this chapter 12, they take council to destroy Him.
Matthew 13-18: We now have a fresh start and in this section that which covers this present dispensation. Thus we have in the Sower a fresh start in a larger sphere. He leaves the House (Israel) and sits by the sea side, (Gentiles). C.f., Acts 10:6.
In the parables the Lord propounds, He shews the progress of the Kingdom in its present mystery form during His absence.
That this follows His death is clear for it is His field, (verses 24, 31). "A field," 44, becomes His field, verses 24, 31. He bought it by His blood. Now we have the Lord in the outside place.
Matthew 14: Herod's court pictures the world. The lust of the flesh, verse 3; the lust of the eye, verse 6; and the pride of life, verse 9; but the Lord is outside, verse 13, and all who sought Him, followed Him, and joined Him in the desert. The Head, verse 19; the Priest, verse 23; the Lord, verse 28. He is eminently able to support His own in the outside place.
Matthew 15: Shows the transfer from Judaism to Christianity. No longer is it a question of meats and drinks but of man's moral state.
Matthew 16: We have the revelation of the church based upon His death which He mentions for the first time, in this chapter.
If, in the ways of God, He is put to death, the way is but opened for the church of God, subject of the purpose of God, to be brought into the light of divine revelation.
Matthew 17: He shows the three disciples the Kingdom in glory so that it is not set up in manifestation here, Christ is glorified above.
Matthew 18: We have instructions as to how we are to treat one another as being left here in the world. So the church is seen in responsibility hence we have the church, chapter 16, in the Kingdom, chapter 17.
Matthew 19-23: We have in these chapters the public presentation of the King to Israel, in accordance with Zechariah 9:9. Then we see how the events of Zechariah 11 are fulfilled. He commences with the leaders. We have three parables brought out: the two sons; the vineyard; the marriage feast. They cover: First, from Sinai to Christ. Second, His presentation and rejection. Third, the rejection of the Holy Spirit.
The testimony of God, of Christ, then of the Spirit, all rejected, ending in their city being burned up, Matt. 22:7, and the Gospel going to the Gentiles.
Zechariah 11 should be compared at this point for it sets forth what we have in these chapters right up to His death. The three shepherds of Zechariah 11:8, are, so we find here, the Herodians; Sadduccees; Pharisees. He loathed them and they loathed Him. Thus after exposing them He leaves the Temple desolate, and the covenant is broken, Zechariah 11:10.
Matthew 24-25: C.f., Zechariah 11:11. The poor of the flock wait upon Him for the word of the Lord. In these two chapters the Lord unfolds the history of the nation and the events between His departure and His return. These two chapters are in three sections, thus,
Matt. 24:1-44: We have the history of Israel;
Matt. 24:25 - 25:30: The present period;
Matt. 25:31 to the end: The coming of the Son of Man.
Matthew 26-28: We have first, in this last section, our Lord's last words to His own. The Supper is here linked with the Pass-over and out to all. Note, not "for you", as in Luke, but "for many." As to Judas — the disciples say, "Lord, is it I?" He says, "Master, is it I?" In comparing the gospels as to these last acts it may be seen that in Matthew we have the Sin offering; in Mark, the Trespass offering; in Luke, the Meat offering; finally in John, the Burnt offering.
Luke shows us that Perfect Man tested in the Garden, but in Matthew we have Isaiah 53 and also Psalm 22 carried through on the Cross.
At His death we have many acts of power recorded here. The veil is rent; graves were opened; earth quaked; rocks rent; saints arose. Such events as will yet be seen when He brings in the Kingdom in Power.
Lastly we have the Resurrection. Here we have the women taking hold of His feet. He will bring in salvation by subduing all beneath His feet.
In the account in Luke's Gospel we have "hands and feet," Luke 24:39; in John, hands and side. He meets them in Galilee, the place from which He started at the outset of this Gospel, and gave them their commission to preach and teach in the light of that revelation which He had made — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This Gospel was carried on until the stoning of Stephen, when the Gospel of the glory was brought in by Paul.
The Lord's words are, "Teaching them whatsoever I have commanded you," C.f. Matt. 5:21, 22, the law says — but I say, etc. Also He is with them to the end of the age.
Obviously the following was given prior to his homecall in 1977.