And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
(Mark 8:31-38 ESV)
1. Jesus spoke plainly about his rejection and death.
2. Peter rebukes him, and Jesus rebukes him in turn
3. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him
4. If we act like we are ashamed of Christ, he in turn will be ashamed of us when him comes in glory.
SO much is contained within these four verses, and I could probably pick out more.
Jesus was so clear with his disciples about what was eventually going to happen and they just didn't want to here it. Peter went so far as to rebuke Jesus for saying it. Jesus needed his disciples to realize the cost of serving and following him. It will lead to HIS death. Following him was not an easy thing to do.
Following Christ means that DAILY we need to turn from our own wants and desires and focus on what he wants from us. We have a cross we must bear as we do this. The cross could be anything... pain/suffering, things that need doing, hurts from the past, temptations etc. We need to work through those things AS we follow Christ. So pick up "your baggage of wants, hurts, desires" and simply follow him.
If we follow Christ and then act like we are ashamed of him, Christ will be ashamed of us. Do we really want that? Can we honestly tell people what we believe and why? Let's not be ashamed of our Lord God eh?