The followers of Jesus were not only students, they were the future leaders for a new movement. Losing your life to gain it is a popular theme throughout the gospels. Nowhere does this come together clearer than through baptism. Yet, death and rebirth through baptism is not the only way we must lose our self to gain it.
Good power is given; not taken. People want to know their needs are considered when they choose the people to lead them. A good leader realizes their needs are secondary to the needs of the people. When I hear the scripture, 'the last shall be first and the first shall be last' I think of leadership. The more power that is given to you the less freedom you have, the more accountable you are, the higher standard you must put upon yourself.
Jesus was warning the Disciples. If they were going to follow the Christ they would eventually have to lead. Yes, like anyone who follows Jesus, they would have to spiritually die and be reborn in Christ, but they would also have to lead by focusing on the needs of others. In the end, this was to the point of death for many of those who were closest to Jesus. They had to lose it all.
If you gain the world, or ultimate power, but cannot see the need of those who gave you that power you will destroy yourself and truly have nothing. In that way, yo