In John 6 Jesus’ recurring statement is to come to him, believe in him. He reminds and reminds that he has come from heaven to be with us, to reconcile the relationship - to love us! When asked “what can we do” he simply repeated “believe”. He didn’t ask them to prove their love to him with any tasks or miracles of their own. Essentially all he asked for was for them (and us) to accept the love he was offering!
I am reminded of how my ex-husband responded so often to my requests for him to just be with me. How I longed to spend time with him and to have him understand that I loved him. His response was to say things like “unconditional love doesn’t exist”, “I don’t know why you love me”. He simply could not understand the kind of love I was offering. The things he said and did were showing that because of his disbelief in my love he thought he had to constantly test it. He “made me prove” my love by creating scenarios that he thought for sure would prove I didn’t love unconditionally. He rated how much he thought I loved him by how well I remembered things he told me, how quickly I did things he hinted at, actions were what he thought constituted love. He kept his heart locked up for fear of it breaking, and in the process denied himself the love and loyalty that he so desired. In trying to protect his heart he hardened it and broke the ones offered to him as well. We offered to care for his heart, but he never learned to trust us with that. Jesus wants to heal and protect our hearts - and he can be trusted way more than any mere human to do that perfectly!
While love in and of itself is an action, and it can be seen through actions, the act of loving is a heart action. It is believing in, being with, and accepting the one you love. It may be that you do things for them BECAUSE you love them, but those are not love by themselves. Those same actions can be manipulation to get something I want. Actions do not prove love, love proves itself. When the people asked “What can we do to perform the works of God?”
Jesus replied, “This is the work of God — that you believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29) All I wanted from my ex when we were married was for him to love me because I loved him. To simply believe that I loved him and accept it as true. This is all Jesus asks of us.
Had my ex been able to accept even the imperfect love I was giving without doubting it, it would have produced a loving response from him instead of a demanding one. He would no longer have felt the need to constantly test my loyalty with his disloyalty, to look elsewhere for validation and acceptance. It was all right here, he had only to see and embrace it. Think about it - when you KNOW you are loved by someone fully it is easy to love them back, to rest in and return that love. Look to Jesus for your validation, acceptance and love - because it’s already there. (And He IS love, so he will never get it wrong, whereas I as a mere human could and did!)
We don’t need to prove our love to Jesus, we only need accept his love, allow him to dwell with us, and the rest will follow. We don’t need to concern ourselves with our own heart’s safety because God concerns himself with it already. We can trust him because our good is his goal!