The story of the rich man and poor Lazarus is set within a series of Jesus' teachings to his disciples. It is composed of two parts. The first sets the stage for the dialog between the dead rich man and Abraham. In the dialog itself, the rich man pleads first for himself and then for his brothers. The story reflects the popular understanding of life after death at the time of Jesus. We are told only that Lazarus is poor and afflicted and that the rich man did nothing to aid this pitiful man who lived on his doorstep. In death, Lazarus was with Abraham and the rich man was in the torment of Hades. His request that Lazarus aid him was denied, since he had failed to aid Lazarus in his life. Nor can Lazarus come back from the dead to warn the rich man's brothers. If they did not learn from the Scriptures, they would turn a deaf ear even to one who returned from the dead. The story makes several points. The first is the way our destinies beyond death are determined by our lives in this world. The second is the importance of sharing our wealth with the needy. But the story also discourages any hope that even the miracle of the risen Christ can easily reverse the hardness of the human heart toward others in need. It claims that the Holy Spirit working through God's Word is the way we are changed in our attitudes and actions toward others.