Perrin and Duling, in their book, The New Testament: An Introduction, provide a helpful overview of the Gospel of Matthew. Here is what they have to say about this section….
8:1-9:34 The miracles of Jesus. Matthew characteristically arranges his material in blocks. He follows his first revelatory discourse with a block of ten miracle stories interwoven with teaching on discipleship. In 4:23 and 9:35 the summaries of the characteristic activity of Jesus’ ministry stress healing, and nine of the ten miracles are healing miracles. The collection of ten miracles perhaps recalls the ten plagues of Moses in Egypt (Ex 7:8-11:10). In general, Matthew transforms the miracles by introducing or expanding dialogues….
9:35-38 Summary of the characteristic activity of the ministry. Matthew has inherited from Mark 6:6b-11 an account of a teaching journey by Jesus, followed by the commissioning of “the twelve” for a missionary journey. The teaching journey further summarizes the activities characteristic of Jesus’ ministry—preaching, teaching, and healing (9:35; cf. 4:23).
10:1-11:1 The Second Book of the New Revelation: The Missionary Discourse. The commissioning of “the twelve” becomes the occasion for the second revelatory discourse. The discourse itself contains originally disparate elements (10:5-42). Matt 10:5-6 reflects the Christian mission to the Jews rather than the Hellenistic [Greek speaking] Jewish Christian mission. In 10:7 Matthew gives to the disciples the exact proclamation of Jesus (4:17) and John the Baptist (3:2). John the Baptist, Jesus, and now the Christian church are the succession of the new revelation. Notice, however, that the disciples are not commissioned to teach, as they are when the revelation is complete. Matt 10:9-16 seems to be a development form some traditional “handbook” for the missionaries of the Hellenistic Jewish Christian mission, since Luke 10:4-12 has a similar set of instructions. 11:1 contains the formula ending to the second book of the new revelation.
11:2-12:50 Opposition by leaders; the people’s lack of understanding. Matthew ends his account of the mission of Jesus to Israel by focusing attention on Jesus himself, developing a Christology [study of the person and works of Christ], and interweaving with it an account of the opposition by leaders and the people’s lack of understanding. It is a skillful blend of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and the difficulties he faced among the Jews themselves.
The verse I find most comforting in this section is 11:28 containing these words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I wonder: what burden do you or I need to roll off on to Jesus today so that we can find spiritual rest? We can do this in prayer by praying: “Lord Jesus, I come to you today and I give you my burden of _________. Thank you for giving me your rest in exchange. Amen.” I believe that the more we pray this kind of prayer, as many times as necessary throughout the day, we will receive Jesus’ rest and peace.