Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Mt.28:16-20)What is Matthew up to? He was clearly aware of prior appearances of Jesus to the Eleven (Jesus had directed them to a specific mountain in Galilee, something not part of His message to the women; so Jesus appeared to the Eleven while still in Jerusalem) and yet Matthew felt compelled to get to this mountain and Jesus "Great Commission." Why?
I put that question to the Lord the other day. I had just finished my re-reading of Matthew, recalled being puzzled by this before, and thought, "I'm just going to ask the primary author!" (The beauty of reading Scripture is that the same Spirit Who inspired it lives within us!) And as I simply began to think about Matthew and his Gospel, I recalled the significance of the mountain.
I would suggest that it is the same Galilean mountain spoken of in Matthew 5:1, "Seeing the crowds, [Jesus] went up on the mountain and when He sat down His disciples came to him. And He opened His mouth and taught them ..." The three chapters following that introduction make up the Sermon on the Mount, where Matthew reveals Jesus as the New Moses, completing and deepening the Law that Moses was given atop Mount Sinai. Again and again we hear Jesus cite the Mosaic Law, "You have heard that it was said ... but I say to you ...," one example being "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt.5:27-28).
I believe that Matthew places the emphasis on Jesus' Resurrection appearances in Galilee to drive home His identity as the prophesied New Moses (Deut.18:19-20), dispatching the New Law from His Galilean Sinai, "All authority in heaven and on earth given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold I am with you always, to the end of the age." Now that's a Gospel, that's "Good News"! Amen?