Then Jesus said to His disciples, Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. – Matthew 16:24
Discipleship is not to be taken lightly. A disciple is not just a follower, but one who is willing to be and do so much more. “Following” takes little commitment. Anyone can talk the talk, go through the motions, and enjoy the benefits and ignore the difficulties. Discipleship requires study of His doctrine, communication both ways, faith in the unseen, service above self and literally becoming the example of Christ before the world.
Jesus knew that this would be hard once He had left their sight, so His mission was urgent to prepare His first disciples for the unimaginable road ahead. He told them discipleship would mean the Cross for Him, for them, for us. A life of sacrifice would be the path of His disciples.