And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples (kai proskalesameno ton oclon sun toi maqhtai autou). Mark alone notes the unexpected presence of a crowd up here near Caesarea Philippi in heathen territory. In the presence of this crowd Jesus explains his philosophy of life and death which is in direct contrast with that offered by Peter and evidently shared by the disciples and the people. So Jesus gives this profound view of life and death to them all. Deny himself (aparnhsasqw eauton). Say no to himself, a difficult thing to do. Note reflexive along with the middle voice. Ingressive first aorist imperative. See on "Mt 16:24" about taking up the Cross. The shadow of Christ's Cross was already on him ( Mark 8:31 ) and one faces everyone.