continued from last week
... Unfortunately, the final memory of the mission in Galilee is one in which these villages ultimately rejected Jesus as king.
The ultimate mission for the disciples in Matthew comes of course in the Great Commission in Matthew 28. This is the climax of Matthew's presentation and it points to the continuation of Jesus' mission after he has departed from the earth after his resurrection. We call it a commission because the eleven remaining disciples are sent into all the nations to continue what Jesus has started while he was on earth.
Sometimes you hear people point out that the word "go" is actually a participle in the original Greek: "Having gone" (Matt. 28:19). The emphasis is thus not on going but on making disciples, which is the main verb. Some then argue that going is an assumption rather than a command--in other words, there is no question that they would go. Probably, we shouldn't try make any major point from the word at all. Matthew uses a similar construction elsewhere where there is no emphasis on going (e.g., Matt. 11:4). 
So the focus here is not on going but on the eleven "making disciples." The eleven go under the authority of Jesus (28:18). Jesus certainly had authority before his resurrection (e.g., 9:6), but quite possibly Matthew thinks of Jesus now gaining all authority and not only on earth but in heaven now as well. He has been enthroned as cosmic king and thus all must now "bow the knee" and worship him (28:16). They carry his authority with them in part because he will be with them to the end of the age (28:20).
How are they to make further disciples? First, they are to baptize wherever they go. This is presumably a baptism associated with repentance, a physical cleansing that represented the spiritual cleansing and forgiveness of sins. Interestingly, Matthew speaks of baptism "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." This may reflect the extent to which Christian understanding had developed by the time of Matthew's writing, probably after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.  Acts (e.g., 2:38) and probably Paul (1 Cor. 1:13) baptized in the name of Jesus and probably reflect the earliest sense of baptism.
The second element of discipling that the Great Commission mentions is teaching future Jesus followers to do the things that Jesus commanded. Jesus' love commandment in Matthew 22:37-40 is of course the very heart of what Jesus commanded while he was on earth. He boiled all his teaching down to love of God and love of neighbor. In the next chapter, we'll also look at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, arguably the central presentation of Jesus' teaching in Matthew.
The Great Commission is directed at the eleven disciples. Did Jesus in Matthew mean it to apply to more than just these eleven? ...
 Probably, "go and make disciples" is the best translation, since a participle can be used as a light command when associated with another central command.
 The reason Matthew probably dates to the time after the destruction of Jerusalem is at least two-fold. First, there is the likelihood that Matthew used Mark, which would place it later. But more centrally, there is the way Matthew may have edited the parable about a banquet. Compare Matthew 22:7 with Luke 14:15-23.