What did Jesus have to say about the cross?
Matt 16:24-28 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."Matthew records Jesus saying something similar in Matt 10:38-39, and , Mark 8:34-38, and Luke 9:23-27. There is something to this passage that the gospel writers agreed was important.
So what could Jesus be asking of us here? By taking up our cross is Jesus asking us to pay the price for our sins like he did on the cross... no, I won't go there.
I think this lines up with what Paul talks about in Romans 6.
We used to let our own selfish ways rule in our lives. Jesus took our sins to the cross. He modeled putting sin to death. Jesus is saying we need to do the same. Our sin needs to die on the cross with Him.
Now with Jesus on the throne, we are now ruled by His will, guided by the Holy Spirit. In a sense we died on the cross with Jesus... our selfish ways are dead. The life we live now is Christ's.
Don't just take my word for any of this, read how Paul describes it in Romans 6.