When reading this verse, it’s easy for us to overlook the significance of what Jesus said to his disciples. Today a cross is a religious symbol that is often used as a decoration or as jewelry.
However, to the disciples a cross was a symbol of death, torture, pain, suffering, fear, and humiliation. A cross was used to execute people. It resulted in a slow and gruesome death.
Jesus is making an extremely difficult request for all those who would follow him. To complete this task, a person would need perseverance and dedication.