The rich man ignored Lazarus day after day. He got to a state where he wasn’t interested in or able to repent. To change and love God or his neighbor. In Hades, he wants relief from his torment, but has no repentance to express, even when he sees Lazarus. maybe he still doesn’t care, Maybe he knows it’s too late, maybe both. The point is for you not to get to this spot, by our repeated offenses and superficial sorries.
What will shake us up enough out of callous stupor to turn from self and sin to the Savior? Surely a sensational resurrection would do it. Lazarus, back from the dead! No, Jesus says, and the facts bear him out. When Jesus actually brought Lazarus back from the dead, did the rulers repent and come to Christ? No, they just plotted to kill Lazarus, too – surely the silliest plan ever.
Jesus’ point is sobering for us. If the Word of God won’t shake you and cause you to repent, no ghost appearance will either. No scary visions of hell, emotional preaching, or traumatic experiences will do it. Only the Spirit at work in the Word.